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What is HIPAA and How to be Compliant The health care industry was restructured in 1996 by streamlining administrative procedures, by passing a law commonly called the HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that will increase the privacy and security of the patient’s information. Not only the health care professionals in hospitals, clinics and dental practices are affected by the HIPAA requirements, other providers who have access to personal health information like call center agents, medical equipment providers and insurance staff are also directed in this regulation. In the past years, the enforcement of the legislation has not been strict, with those not meeting HIPAA privacy and security requirements given few penalties only for handling the data of patients. Changes are being done slowly and surely on the implications for those companies who fail the requirements of the HIPAA, by imposing on them tougher audits and bigger fines. Therefore, if you work in an environment that needs you to understand HIPAA guidelines and polices, you have three methods to be HIPAA compliant. The first thing you do in order for your company to be HIPAA compliant is to assign a HIPAA compliance officer. This officer should complete the course of HIPAA compliance training and will be responsible to maintain and enforce the HIPAA requirements. The HIPAA provisions and policies and how it impacts the company have to be made sure being understood by all staff members. All employees should have the opportunity to have attend an ongoing staff training about HIPAA requirements. Depending on the level of access of a staff member to a patient’s data, the training should be made customized.
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Another step is to ensure that proper safeguarding is done on all patient data. Thus, only authorized personnel should be allowed access to the information and records of a patient. To secure your computer system that contains the sensitive data, it should be strictly controlled and loaded with an updated antivirus software. Furthermore, there should be a regular back up of your electronic data.
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By doing the above steps, there should be no problem in ensuring the framework to meet all HIPAA requirements. Just know that the most important aspect of the process is the selection of the HIPAA compliance officer and making sure that the person receives the best training about HIPAA requirements. After the officer’s training, he or she must be prepared to take on the responsibility of putting in place all the HIPAA requirements in the organization, from the training of all staff, to establishing the security and privacy procedures of patients data, and to making sure that there is security in your computer systems. Meeting the requirements of HIPAA will ensure your company to be compliant.

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