Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is vital for every healthcare organization. HIPAA defines the standards, methods, and procedures that need to be followed in order to protect the privacy of medical records. Do you wish to make your organization HIPAA-compliant and protect pertinent medical information in 2021?
With effective policies and data protection measures in place, optometry providers can ensure that their practices are closely aligned with the HIPAA regulations. Constant risk assessments and audits can also help providers to detect and address grave threats to the confidentiality of their medical data.
The HIPAA regulations are subject to frequent updates and this year too, there have been quite a few changes. Here is a checklist of the top 4 measures that organizations must incorporate to stay in line with the latest HIPAA regulations. Follow these practices to achieve HIPAA compliance in 2021 and protect yourself from data breaches.
1. Implement Robust Policies and Procedures
Being HIPAA compliant requires optometry providers to have a well-defined set of procedures in place. It is imperative to develop practices and standards that are in line with all the HIPAA privacy and security rules. Privacy policies pertaining to data usage as well as routine and non-routine disclosures should also be developed.
Optometry providers must create policies for remote work and telehealth visits. They should make sure to take written permission from patients before using or disclosing protected health information. Healthcare organizations should also ensure that their staff is thoroughly trained in all of such procedures.
2. Conduct Timely Audits and Assessments
Healthcare organizations must carry out internal audits and security assessments to always stay HIPAA-compliant. You can even hire experts to carry out audits to find out and document gaps and inconsistencies in your practices. These audits must cover all administrative and security measures being carried out by the organization.
Providers must ensure that stringent and timely audits are carried out. This can help them to develop strong remediation plans to address procedural issues and inconsistencies. After implementing the remediation plans, optometry organizations need to review the outcomes and update plans until the goal of HIPAA-compliance is achieved.
3. Develop Effective Risk Analysis Frameworks
Staying in compliance with HIPAA requires optometry organizations to continuously assess and mitigate risks. Thorough risk assessments are essential in order to identify and document vulnerabilities that could lead to data breaches. Healthcare organizations must develop a risk management policy to conduct regular risk assessments for systems that house protected health information.
Providers need to evaluate the effectiveness of their practices from time-to-time and identify critical healthcare cybersecurity risks. Staying HIPAA-compliant also requires healthcare providers to always be on their toes and protect sensitive information with effective security measures. Furthermore, providers even need to make sure that their security practices are in line with the latest HIPAA security standards.
4. Incorporate Strong Data Protection Measures
Another important prerequisite of staying HIPAA compliant is to protect the integrity and confidentiality of your data. Access to electronic medical records must be restricted in order to prevent the risks of healthcare ransomware attacks. All sensitive documents must be shredded before discarding or throwing them away. Workstation access must also be given to specific individuals in order to prevent the misuse or loss of pertinent medical data.