HIPAA compliance is a critical area of concern among many organizations. Efforts to maintain compliance are paramount. No one wants to deal with a HIPAA violation, and IT departments are taking a larger role in sustaining compliance. Here’s how firms are using the strength of an effective IT departments to prevent incurring these costly violations.
Why It’s Imperative to Enforce HIPAA Compliance
Managers who are aware of the potential repercussions from a HIPAA violation resulting from non-compliance can cost an organization up to $250,000. That figure is staggering and can affect even the most deep-pocketed of organizations.
The costs of triggering a HIPAA violation loom heavily over countless organizations. Savvy managers are interested in thinking of proactive ways to stop HIPAA violations from occurring. A proactive approach is the best option to take when addressing potential HIPAA concerns.
How IT Departments Relate to Enforcing HIPAA Compliance
IT staff can take on a major role in HIPAA enforcement, especially when partnered with a HIPAA expert to guide their efforts. Having a HIPAA expert on hand is a smart way to stay ahead of potential violations.
The IT staff, especially administrators and security staff are in a position to detect and resolve these issues before they start. For instance, computer programs displaying patient information must be closed immediately after use. Failure to do so can be viewed as HIPAA non-compliance. The IT department is in a unique position to issue company-wide directives that remind staff of all departments not to keep sensitive patient information open after use.
Where IT Departments Fall Short on HIPAA Violation Prevention
Unfortunately, many IT departments are simply spread too thin to take on HIPAA compliance enforcement activities. With so many important functions to perform, IT personnel are some of the most overworked and understaffed areas of an organization. In the face of extremely tight budgets that have become the norm in the modern market, many firms are left with barely enough IT professionals on board to handle rudimentary tasks let alone HIPAA enforcement.
These challenges have led many clever managers to opt for outsourcing the IT departments either in part or all together when possible. This shrewd thinking is helping organizations that would otherwise be struggling to keep up.
The Case for Enlisting a Managed IT Service to Ensure HIPAA Compliance
While IT departments are appropriate for addressing HIPAA concerns, they can easily be spread too thin when asked to focus on compliance. IT workers have enormous responsibilities and piling too much on them can hinder overall performance. This makes it advisable to enlist managed services that focus on HIPAA. IT managed services can implement HIPAA software and other practices that will tighten up compliance around the organization.
Limiting emails containing Protected Health Information, or PHI, is also good practice. The IT management should encourage this and advise staff to keep emails with PHI to a minimum.
Another highly important IT security practice that absolutely must be implemented within the organization is the scheduled production and maintenance of data backups on files containing PHI.
As many IT professionals and HIPAA experts will readily understand, Anti-Virus protection should be installed on every device to shore up access points across the organization. When PHI is compromised, there can be serious consequences regarding HIPAA.
HIPAA Compliance and Technology in the Work Environment
Technology in the work environment is a great convenience, however it can also be grounds for HIPAA non-compliance. A lot of these issues also fall on the IT department to prevent. For example, under their stipulations, all PHI files must be encrypted when stored, emailed, or otherwise distributed.
Another important practice that must be implemented to remain HIPAA compliant, is to issue unique user identifiers to all personnel who access PHI data. This practice is designed to enable the organization to monitor who accessed and utilized PHI and when. This kind of information is crucial when explaining a HIPPA violation.
Vendor Compliance, Another HIPAA Compliance Concern
It is also advisable for IT departments to be mindful and capable of ensuring that the various vendors they do business with and the services rendered also fully comply with HIPAA. Organizations can run into trouble when a HIPAA violation results from interaction with a vendor.
Outsourcing HIPAA Compliance to A Managed IT Service, Make the Switch
While in-house IT departments can do quite a bit even when overworked, don’t miss out on the benefits of a managed service. Get in touch with Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises and prepare to soar. This solid company has a robust suite of managed IT services that are built around HIPAA compliance strategies. Get the help you need at a competitive price and enjoy the benefits of full HIPAA compliance.
Get a hold of one of the strongest HIPAA focused managed IT services available, Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises.