Wednesday, August 15, 2012

5 Ways How HIPAA Training Can Ensure Patient Confidentiality

The responsibility of protecting patients' sensitive information rests on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which was enforced for this very reason. When a patient gets admitted in a hospital, there is a sharing of patient information. The healthcare organization is required to respect the confidentiality of the patients. However, for the various reasons, sometimes patient information needs to be accessed and used by employees, insurance companies, billing, and the like. Therefore there is a big risk of this sensitive information getting into the wrong hands, which is why it needs to be well protected.

A patient's confidential information can only be accessed a certain number of times for any reason, and healthcare employees need to be aware of little things like this. Thus they need to be adequately trained so they can access and use the information as per the rules laid down by HIPAA. HIPAA lays down strict rules and regulation for the privacy and security of patient health information. Any misuse or violation leads to severe consequences in the form of fines and imprisonment.

Below are mentioned five reasons how HIPAA training for employees can ensure patient confidentiality.

• HIPAA training helps employees become aware of the rules and regulations laid down by HIPAA. It is essential that all covered healthcare organizations make these training sessions available for their employees at regular intervals. Once they are aware of the rules, it will be easier for them comply.

• Non-compliance with HIPAA rules and laws, leads to severe penalties. In the training, the violations and penalties are also explained. The extent of violation will determine the penalty, whether civil or criminal, whether fines or imprisonment.

• The healthcare organization must decide who are to undergo this training program. Some employees enroll only those employees who directly deal with patients' confidential information, whereas others encourage all the employees to attend these training classes. The sessions are not very long and last for a few hours.

• To protect the sensitive information of the patients, to limit access, and to avoid misuse, HIPAA advices the covered healthcare organizations to put certain physical and technical safeguards in place. HIPAA training explains to the employees all about these safeguards and how they help in protecting confidential patient information.

• The training is not just a once-in-a-life class. On completion, employees will have to give a test to ascertain whether they have actually understood about HIPAA and its rules, regulations, etc. Employees who successful pass the test receive a completion certificate. This certificate proves that they have received the said training.

The certificate received has to be renewed every couple of years. HIPAA constantly introduces new laws and modifies others. Hence it is essential to keep yourself up to date about the continuous changes taking place. You will receive regular notices and updates about any changes and you can also take different tests to gain more knowledge. Proper compliance is only possible when there is proper awareness.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How HIPAA Training Can Help Reduce Misuse of Your Health Information: 4 Points

Maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of your medical records is governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. It makes sure that your health information does not get into the wrong hands and protects it from misuse. HIPAA had laid down certain rules and regulations which all healthcare organizations are required to follow.

Any violations of the HIPAA rules may lead to serious implications. Fines and even imprisonment may follow as a result of misuse. Generally, violations do not happen intentionally, rather they occur due lack of knowledge of the HIPAA rules on the part of the employees. It becomes the responsibility of the healthcare organization to make sure that all their employees who deal with patient records are trained. Once this is done, there will be a drastic decrease in the number of violations and your medical information will be safe.

Here are four major points as to how HIPAA training can help reduce the misuse of your health information.

• Awareness of the various rules and laws of HIPAA and understanding the reasons why these laws are implemented will help the employees to adhere to these rules as they handle your medical records.

• During the training, employees are taught about the privacy and security rules, implications, and results of non-adherence. Once they know all this, the employees will take special care to ensure that they are strictly following the regulations, thus resulting in minimal or no violations.

• On completion of this training, the employees are awarded a completion certificate, which is valid for a minimum of two years. Refreshes courses are provided at regular intervals. This is done so that the employee can be up to date with any amendments or changes in the HIPAA laws. It is necessary to be aware of the changes in order to maintain compliance of the rules.

• As patients, it is important for you also know about HIPAA, its rules and regulations, and results of non-compliance. This can help in preventing the violation of your health information, as you can keep a check on what is happening with your records. As you will be getting regular notices from the hospital, it is good to read it properly before signing as you do not want any compromise when it comes to the safety of your health information.

It is important that the patients are assured that their medical records are in the hands of responsible employees. Knowing that the employees handling their sensitive information have been properly trained will help them be at peace about its misuse. You must always make sure that the health care organization you are seeing strictly follows the HIPAA guidelines. It is good to keep a copy of your records at home so you can know if there are any changes made.

HIPAA training can be done in a classroom as well as through the internet. These days it is very easy and convenient to get training. Employees and patients will benefit greatly by undertaking this training.