Healthcare is a business that deals with highly sensitive information. Therefore, business owners need to be aware of HIPAA violations and how they can prevent them.
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (1996). It is a federal law that protects individuals’ medical data on privacy grounds. The act requires organizations that handle protected health information (PHI) to follow specific safeguards to ensure its integrity and confidentiality.
So how can business owners work to prevent HIPAA violations?
One way to do this is by following our business security guide below. We’ll discuss how you can make sure your business doesn’t fall victim to HIPAA violations. Read on to learn!
Encrypt Data for Information Security
First, business owners need to make sure their business protects all data. This means encrypting any company files that are not publically available on the web.
Encrypting these important business documents will ensure unauthorized persons don’t access them. You should also use an encrypted file sharing service.
If you don’t have the technical skills to do it, don’t worry. There are plenty of software options that can help you encrypt files.
Implement Access Controls
Another security measure business owners should take is to implement access controls. This means you need to know who has what level of access to sensitive business information.
You can do this by using software to track and monitor user activity. It should also set permissions for different employees depending on their roles. By doing so, you’ll know everyone’s workflow is secure from HIPAA violations.
Access controls will also ensure PHI data is only accessed by those who should see it. This means you need to know where business information has traveled. When and how often employees access business files, which devices they’re using, etc.
You also want to implement access controls for your physical office space too. In this case, business owners can use keycards to grant employees access to certain rooms. This will allow you to control who has physical access to your business.
You also need to train employees about HIPAA violations to enhance business privacy. The law requires business owners to provide regular employee education on:
- The importance of safeguarding PHI data
- How they should go about doing this
- what happens if employees do not follow these guidelines
You can do this by having business security policies in place that employees are required to sign. This will ensure your workforce understands the importance of business information protection. And that they follow protocol when it comes to protecting data.
These business security guidelines should also be discussed during employee onboarding. That way, everyone knows what is expected of them right from the beginning.
Employee education helps reduce HIPAA violations since you’re ensuring all business staff understand how PHI data needs to be handled at work. So, you won’t have data ending up in the wrong hands.
Conduct Risk Assessment
A business risk assessment involves evaluating the business tools and identifying any potential risks that could occur. This will enable you to determine what needs protecting and where weaknesses exist in your business security system. It could be from third-party vendors or employees with access who don’t understand their role within HIPAA compliance guidelines.
By conducting a thorough business risk assessment, business owners can put together a business plan for how they’ll improve areas of weakness. So instead of waiting until after a major breach has occurred, you’re looking at finding vulnerabilities early on.
Check out some risk assessment questions you need to answer.
Use Social Media Carefully
When it comes to business security, one area that business owners often forget is social media. Social media channels are great for promoting your business or sharing industry-related news. However, you need to be careful not to share too much information about yourself and the company.
You should never upload business information to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. This means you should never upload business documents, client lists, financial reports, etc.
In short: do not post any PHI data on your business’ official pages. If a hacker gets their hands on this kind of sensitive information, they could use it for malicious purposes, violating HIPAA guidelines.
So when posting business-related updates online, share general content related to industry news but nothing more than what is publicly available details about the company.
Dispose of Paper Files Properly
When business owners are finished with old business files, they often throw them in the trash. While this may seem like an easy way to get rid of paper documents, it’s a HIPAA violation waiting to happen.
Businesses need to understand that business documents contain a lot of PHI data. This includes patient names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
So, business owners should never toss PHI files in the trash. It leaves these documents vulnerable to people who shouldn’t be looking at this information.
What you can do is take all business documents and shred them before disposing of business paper waste. That way, no one will ever have access to this sensitive business data again, which means your company won’t run into HIPAA violations.
Boost Business Security To Avoid HIPAA Violations
Business owners should be aware of HIPAA violations since they can lead to costly business penalties. So, it is important that business security policies are in place and all business staff know how to follow these guidelines correctly.
We hope you’ll find these security tips helpful. For more business tips, continue exploring our blog.