Common HIPAA Risks and How to Mitigate Them

Compliance with HIPAA is a continuous process. Do your business’ security and privacy policies and processes exist? Do you routinely evaluate your policies and practices?

Is HIPAA training scheduled for new hires and for periodic updates for all staff members?

Based on more than 500 security risk assessments performed by many security analysts for healthcare organizations ranging from single-doctor practices to multi-location hospitals, they have compiled a list of the top HIPAA risks for violation.

This list of HIPAA infractions includes all necessary risk reduction measures.

1. Unsecured Records Containing PHI

When things get hectic, it’s not uncommon for busy medical professionals to leave patient files or laptops unattended or unlocked. The HIPAA rules, which demand that all papers containing PHI be retained in a secured location at all times, could be broken by this, though.

Make sure that all paper documents containing PHI are locked (in file cabinets or offices, for example), and make sure that digital data are password-protected.

2. Loss or theft of portable devices

Many covered entities don’t go far enough to protect PHI, particularly when it’s on thumb drives and other portable devices. According to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), if PHI is adequately encrypted, its loss is not regarded as a breach.

Reduce your risk in the event that gadgets are stolen or lost.

The encryption of all portable devices, thumb drives, laptops, desktops, and servers used by covered businesses is required.

When not in use, drives, storage devices, and other portable devices holding PHI must be kept locked.

3. Failure to complete an enterprise-wide Risk Analysis

OCR has frequently determined that failing to finish an enterprise-wide risk analysis is a HIPAA violation, and they have imposed severe penalties and fines on companies that couldn’t provide proof that they had finished such an analysis.

Reduce your potential for penalties in the event of an audit.

Periodic, comprehensive enterprise-wide security risk analysis should be performed across the board.

Repeating the risk assessment or analysis on a regular basis and following significant changes is advised. We advise carrying this out yearly as a best practice.

Evaluate the results of your risk analysis, then create an action plan with suggested fixes and due dates.

4. Lack of or insufficient staff training

HIPAA mandates that all personnel who interact with PHI undergo appropriate training. It is against the law to not be able to offer the most recent training on HIPAA regulations and procedures.

Create a thorough onboarding procedure for new employees that includes HIPAA compliance instructions. To ensure compliance, send reminders about cybersecurity (such as how staff members can prevent phishing attempts) and routinely offer refresher training.

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