Last Updated on November 2, 2023 by Hina Rubab
It’s not uncommon to find mistakes in the healthcare industry about privacy. Sometimes, privacy isn’t a priority for every healthcare organization. You can avoid these mistakes by looking out for companies that help you with compliance.
But, it’s not easy to determine healthcare mistakes if you haven’t made them before. Many organizations have general liability, but this doesn’t cover everything. So, following HIPAA privacy rules is far more helpful.
To help you understand, here are a few mistakes to avoid for healthcare privacy mistakes:
Table of Contents
Not Using A Compliance Guide and Consulting Company
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Often, healthcare providers flout HIPAA’s rules. These healthcare providers sometimes aren’t aware of what the rules outline. Learning about these rules and policies in-depth will encourage better compliance.
Organizations and medical staff can profit from this. The US Department of Health and Human Services highlights rules for healthcare organizations.
Using a HIPAA compliance guide will allow you to abide by these rules. It will also help you maintain your reputation and avoid fines and penalties. Compare the steps you take during your operations with the guide. The differences you identify will help you follow federal law.
Consulting a detailed guide is more important for new healthcare companies. These companies are those wishing to become HIPAA compliant. Along with a guide, you would need a lawyer that’s well-versed with the privacy law in healthcare. It could take anywhere between a couple of weeks to help you become compliant.
But, if you don’t want to spend on a lawyer, you could use an online help from consulting companies instead. These companies assess compliance requirements for a fraction of a lawyer’s fee. They also help you meet your business goals in the process.
Privacy officers working with these companies provide valuable guidance. This guidance is about adopting HIPAA policies and procedures; thus, healthcare facilities are using HIPAA compliant online fax services to send patients’ medical records.
These consulting companies can also provide risk assessment services. Risk assessment services identify potential non-compliance in your organization.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act came into existence in 1996. It was a milestone in national healthcare. Its primary goal is to safeguard sensitive patient information. Under HIPAA came several rules and regulations that deal with protecting customer confidentiality.
Not complying with these rules could land you in hot water like facing financial losses if you don’t watch out. But, it isn’t difficult to understand and follow these rules without a guide.
Social Media Leaks
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Healthcare organizations often use marketing methods to cement their online presence. Sometimes, those handling social media accounts aren’t careful enough. These social media handlers often don’t ensure patient information stays safe online.
Such leaks might not be intentional, but they cause damage in more than one way. For instance, sometimes medical staff post pictures with their patients on social media. If the patient didn’t consent to the pictures, this could spell trouble.
Very few people are comfortable with having their illnesses projected to everyone. In most cases, this makes up a breach of confidentiality and trust. Any member of medical or admin staff handling social media must exercise caution.
Your healthcare organization could be unfamiliar with using social media. You can train them as per HIPAA rules to avoid any breach of regulations. Your social media account should focus on your healthcare operations and facilities.
Allowing people a glimpse of what you do rather than the patients you serve is a good strategy.
HIPAA’s social media rules prevent even the sharing of text exchanges with patients. If you get your patients’ consent, it’s a different story. With the consent of patients, you can connect with them. You could even share their experiences online. Note that this consent should be in the form of writing.
Privacy violations should be a thing of the past with HIPAA’s social media policy. But, this is only possible if medical staff receive enough training for the same. So, it’s up to a healthcare organization to see their staff receive training and instruction for it.
Not Updating Privacy Policies
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HIPAA needs healthcare organizations to inform patients about how they use their information. Patients should be aware of the data such organizations can share with third parties. This rule allows customers to check their personal information. It also allows them to correct any possible errors.
Under the HIPAA’s provisions, organizations should keep customers updated on any changes. Sometimes, medical providers change their policies on how customers can view healthcare records.
Customers should be aware of these changes at all times. These customers should also receive adequate access to copies of their reports.
The rules under this provision are pretty clear. Customers must receive notices within 2 months of organizations making these policy changes. This form of notification is the basis upon which HIPAA establishes customer confidentiality.
Many organizations fall into the trap of forgetting to update their customers. These updates include policy changes. Every three years, these organizations must send reminders to their customers about updates. Failure to do so results in non-compliance with privacy laws in healthcare.
Updating customers on changes in policy are, but, not enough. The HIPAA rules need organizations to circulate notices containing explanations of privacy policies.
There are separate rules for healthcare providers and health plans under the HIPAA. These rules are available in Spanish and English. They consist of booklets, a presentation, and notices.
The introduction of electronic databases spells new rules for companies following HIPAA. These rules outline a patient’s right to access their medical records online.
Healthcare organizations must follow the Notices for Privacy Practices (NPP). If they don’t, they may face potential consequences of non-compliance. These consequences include paying hefty fines and penalties.
To avoid facing such repercussions, ensure you update your customers. They should know how you plan to store and share their information.
You should consider these tips to help you stay compliant with HIPAA requirements. Facing fees and penalties when you can further your business activities isn’t very wise. Besides, non-compliance with these regulations often leads to a loss of reputation.
It also leads to a lack of trust among patients which is difficult to recover from. For a new healthcare provider, complying with HIPAA privacy rules is a priority. If you’re new to the industry and don’t follow these rules, expect trouble.
Respecting patient confidentiality is at the core of obtaining HIPAA certification. A successful healthcare provider knows how to refrain from sharing private customer information. Such information should be under wraps as it’s sensitive. Medical staff should receive proper training to keep it safe.
Following HIPAA’s policy framework is the starting point. Implementing policies at the organization level should follow.