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Automation Makes HIPAA Compliance Easier

December 2, 2021 No Comments

Featured article by Bernadine Racoma, Content Manager of eTranslation Services

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Cybercrimes continue to threaten many companies and organizations, with financial and healthcare organizations often their target. HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes the HIPAA Privacy Rule. It establishes national standards to protect the personal health information and medical records of individuals. The privacy rule applies to healthcare providers, healthcare clearinghouses, health plans, and health plan providers conducting various healthcare transactions electronically.

Thus, these agencies should be HIPAA compliant. Compliance with HIPAA regulations affects almost every medical-related agency, including public-sector entities and commercial enterprises in the United States. All of them are mandated to protect patient data.

If your company is one of the entities covered by HIPAA, you should start thinking about compliance. Depending on the size of your enterprise and the number of people who can work full time on meeting the HIPAA requirements, the process can take between one to three years.

In a HIPAA OCR audit, which checks your company’s readiness, the audit protocols include the Security Rule, the Breach Notification Rule, and the Privacy Rule. Almost all healthcare organizations are familiar with the last two rules. The Security Rule is one of the primary concerns because of the implementation of the electronic record, which is making the protection of patient records more challenging. Aside from the rules to address, the security rule alone has 254 individual validation points under 77 security requirements.

From the above, you can already visualize how time-consuming and laborious your compliance journey will be. Thus, HIPAA compliance automation is an excellent option to ensure your compliance without spending too much time on the process and taking away your staff from their regular tasks.

Understanding the need for HIPAA compliance

The Health and Human Services requires all HIPAA-covered entities handling personal health information (PHI) to switch to computerized operations, including electronic health records, computerized physician order entry systems, and laboratory, pharmacy, and radiology systems. The electronic methods provide additional mobility and efficiency but greatly increase the risks of securing healthcare data.

For the covered entities, HIPAA requires them to use the same nationally-recognized code sets and identifiers. The system allows the secure transfer of electronic health information between HIPAA-covered entities. For patients, HIPAA established the rules to control access to healthcare data, limit sharing of patient information, and restrict the viewing of health information. Patients have the right to control who can view and share their information.

HIPAA compliance makes covered entities ensure they have the technologies, procedures, and policies that protect patients’ data, the covered entities, and business associates that create, access, process, and store personal health information.

How automation helps maintain HIPAA compliance

When you have a robust automated HIPAA compliance solution, you will gain the following benefits:

– Help with the imposed six self-audits, and five business associate audits that you need to do annually

– Identify gaps and create remediation plans

– Develop policies and procedures tailored to your organization

– Perform annual staff training

– Manage/vet business associates, such as software vendors

– Enable incident tracking to facilitate breach notification and incident response

– Provide support for HIPAA audits, including the creation of supporting documents

Automating your HIPAA compliance procedures ensures the close monitoring and recording of every step and process to ensure the integrity of your administrative, physical, and technical policies, data protection strategies, documents, and workflows. HIPAA compliance is about adhering to every HIPAA requirement, and automation will help your organization keep track of everything.

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Bernadine Racoma is the Content Manager of eTranslation Services. Her long experience in an international development institution and extensive travels have provided her a wealth of knowledge and insights into cultural diversity. She writes to inform, engage, and share the idea of the Internet being a useful platform for communicating, knowledge sharing, educating, and entertaining. You can find Bernadine Racoma at Google Plus, on Facebook and Twitter.

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