8 Tips To Improve HIPAA Compliance In Dentistry
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 is a law created to protect patient records in the medical field. Complying with HIPAA is supremely important for any dental clinic to protect Patient Health Information(PHI) and not to attract fines due to HIPAA violations. While everyone is aware that patient records have to be secured, many consider practices associated with HIPAA to be tiresome and confusing. Mobile Computer Services, a managed IT company in Wake Forest specializing in dental IT services, discusses the tips dental clinics can follow to ensure HIPAA compliance.
Training about HIPAA policies must be conducted regularly to update the staff members, non-staffers, and third-party vendors who have access to patient data. The training must provide information on how to handle PHI, how to safely communicate online or via electronic media, spot any potential vulnerabilities, and how to respond during a breach securely.
2. Scheduled Audits
Risk assessment audits using risk assessment tools or a checklist can be conducted quarterly to rule out potential security breaches. The main goal of the audit is the protection of Personal Health Information. Protecting PHI doesn’t have to be difficult or technical. Even simple things such as regularly updating passwords and verifying that monitors displaying PHI are positioned away from public view are key basic strategies. Ensuring these things can have a significant impact on securing PHI. An expert IT consulting company can provide guidance about conducting effective HIPAA audits.
3. HIPAA Manager
A trusted staff member can be appointed as the HIPAA manager to oversee the audits and conduct regular training. This person can also be the primary contact for the staff to clear any queries on HIPAA compliance. Though this might seem like an additional expense, a dedicated person for HIPAA compliance management can help avoid much more costly security breaches, lawsuits, and fines.
4. Paperless Office
To avoid inadvertent data exposure and careless discarding of PHI, digitizing the information is the best idea. This also helps avoid having to organize and store large numbers of files that may also be lost.
Staff should be trained to use email and text to communicate with patients in a HIPAA-compliant manner without divulging any sensitive information about other patients. Reviews about the dental clinic may be posted on social media platforms or Google. Staff should ensure that the reviews are acknowledged and answered politely without sharing sensitive PHI online.
5. HIPAA Compliant Apps
The dental clinic should use HIPAA-compliant software to manage PHI electronically. Any CRM or cloud applications used should also comply with HIPAA policies. Digital forms filled in by patients can be stored in an encrypted manner accessible only by authorized personnel.
6. Ensure Layered Authentication
Multi-Factor authentication can be enforced to access cloud apps and other servers. This approach is more effective in preventing HIPAA breaches. A managed IT services company such as Mobile Computer Services can provide support for ensuring HIPAA compliance in the apps, servers, and authentication mechanisms used by dental clinics.
7. Breach Response Plan
Even after all precautions, there is always a chance of a breach by hackers. Hence, it is necessary to have a contingency operation plan consisting of data backup and disaster recovery in place. The requirements given in the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule should be followed to notify the concerned departments in the event of a breach. Notifying the authorities on time can help save hefty penalties.
8. Enforce HIPAA with vendors
HIPAA compliance should be followed by all vendors and contractors of the dental clinic who need to handle PHI. HIPAA-compliant contracts and training should be in place while liaising with third-party vendors.
Mobile Computer Services Inc, Wake Forest
Mobile Computer Services Inc., Wake Forest, is an expert IT consulting company offering guaranteed response time and vendor liaison for dental clinics at affordable pricing.
Enjoy reliable, knowledgeable dental IT services with Mobile Computer Services, Inc. at Wake Forest. Talk to the expert today at (919) 230-2900.