HIPAA violations are up and organizations found to be in violation are often given a tiered penalty that can be a fine ranging from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year for each violation.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing HIPAA rules, and failure to comply can result in further civil or even criminal penalties.
The 4 Most Common HIPAA Violations Can All Be Avoided By Working With An Experienced Managed Services Provider
Many common HIPAA violations are the result of poor data management. Here are the top four according to research done by GroupOne Health Source:
1. Unsecured records
2. Unencrypted data
3. Data breach due to hacking
4. Loss or theft of devices
The good news is, the risk of these occurrences becoming a violation is greatly reduced when a healthcare organization outsources IT and data management to a medical managed services provider experienced in cybersecurity and compliance.
Title II of HIPAA Has Become Increasingly Important
According to our cybersoc partner, Arctic Wolf, "When the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was established in 1996, there were no smartphones or wireless connected medical devices, and very few care providers stored electronic protected health information (ePHI). But today communication systems let medical professionals access ePHI via laptop, tablet, or smartphone."
This means that compliance with HIPAA now requires having complete visibility and technical safeguards in place for all networked information systems.
In short, compliance management has become a full-time job.
Here Are A Few Considerations That Must Be Made To Comply With HIPAA Title II
1. Access control - users must all be given a unique username and password.
2. Employee security training - training sessions must be formal and thorough including testing employees on the recognition of malware.
3. Encryption - Messages sent beyond internal firewalls must be encrypted according to NIST standards.
4. Mobile device procedures - mobile device management tools must be in place to clear lost or stolen devices of ePHI.
5. Regular risk assessments - should be carried out regularly to identify and manage risk associated with breaches and other security factors.
And there are many more regarding contingency plans, third-party access, and reporting.
Running a medical practice can be stressful enough, compliance management doesn't have to be when IT experts experienced working with healthcare organizations are dedicated to monitoring and maintaining network configurations that are HIPAA compliant.
Next Steps for Healthcare Organizations Who Need Help With HIPAA Compliance
Download this free HIPAA Compliance Cheat Sheet
Contact PTG if you need a compliance management partner. We can help medical practices find simple data communication solutions, like Microsoft Teams, which can be configured to be a HIPAA-compliant platform.