Health

Why Healthcare Professionals Should Comply With the HIPAA Regulations

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was initially passed in 1996 to restrict access to patients’ protected health information (PHI) and ensure that healthcare facilities and their business partners are doing what’s necessary to protect it. In 1996, businesses were just starting to adopt digital document storage solutions. A lot has changed since then, but it’s still just as essential for healthcare professionals to comply with HIPAA regulations.

How HIPAA Works

Before moving on to discuss the importance of following HIPAA regulations, it’s worth offering a very brief overview of how it works. The Act applies to all healthcare providers and business associates of those providers, known in the industry as “covered entities.”

Covered entities must protect data both while it’s at rest either on-site or in the cloud and while it’s in transit. Concerned parties can visit mFax for more information about how to protect data while it’s in transit.

Any healthcare professionals who regularly handle PHI should also learn the basics of HIPAA’s privacy and security rules. A failure to follow the guidelines set forth in them can result in fines of up to $1.5 million in cases where providers act with willful neglect and fail to correct violations within 30 days.

Why Healthcare Professionals Should Comply

The fact that HIPAA levies fines against negligent organizations that fail to comply with its regulations is only part of the story. Healthcare facilities have more to lose than just money by failing to follow HIPAA. Below are just a few of the more compelling reasons to ensure compliance.

It Builds Consumer Trust

HIPAA-compliant providers can offer their patients proof that there are adequate measures in place to protect their sensitive data. Patients who can see how serious their providers are about protecting PHI and following HIPAA’s regulations will be more likely to trust the clinic, especially given the growing number of data breaches within the industry. Just as suffering a data breach can cause serious reputational harm, proving that patients’ PHI has been adequately secured will benefit the facility’s reputation.

It Supports a Proactive Data Protection Strategy

Healthcare organizations can only scale up if they are able to continue protecting a growing number of patients’ PHI. Creating a HIPAA-compliant and proactive risk management strategy helps to keep PHI safe from data breaches and adapt to emerging cybersecurity threats. Plus, HIPAA lays the groundwork for how healthcare providers can adopt new technologies without compromising data security, making it easier to scale up and accept more patients.

It Encourages Profitability

Healthcare facilities’ top priority should always be patient satisfaction and supporting positive outcomes. However, there’s no denying that facilities must remain profitable in order to continue serving their communities. HIPAA compliance encourages profitability both by improving healthcare providers’ reputations and by ensuring that organizations won’t be subjected to punitive actions if a breach occurs.

Is It Time to Make a Change?

Healthcare providers that aren’t sure where their organizations stand in terms of HIPAA compliance should take the time to review policies and procedures now. If clinics or their business associates are not taking all the necessary steps to protect PHI, it could result in reputational damage and serious financial losses. Don’t put off hiring HIPAA security officers and developing more effective data protection and management strategies. Get started now.

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