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.