Successful HIPAA Compliance Planning – Do You Have An IT Company To Help?
HIPAA compliance is not a simple undertaking. Even if you were reasonably compliant at one point, maintenance can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. As your healthcare organization continues to grow and change, how can you be sure your compliance has kept up?
Whether you are just starting to consider HIPAA compliance, or you need to reconsider it, you cannot afford to put it off forever. You can try to manage it on your own, but it would be smarter to enlist some help from an IT company like Alvarez Technology Solutions.
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How Can Your IT Company Help With HIPAA Compliance Planning?
HIPAA compliance is certainly complicated, but it can be managed if you know what to prioritize. Delegation, information gathering and more and key ways to tackle the problem – but, as you will notice, each and every step is easier with help from an IT company.
Assign and Delegate
Someone on your staff, or your IT support provider, should be taking on the role of Privacy and Security Officer for your organization. While not specifically asked for, you will also need to have members of your team handling compliance documentation. Individuals with good organizational and writing skills are needed in this position, given that documenting your actions is a huge part of HIPAA compliance.
A designated Security Officer and clear documentation are required to meet the Administrative Safeguards. This is not the sort of thing you can just hope to have taken care of; take action and give the responsibility to someone you can trust.
Find Out Where You’re Starting From
You will not be able to make any of the truly necessary changes to your current HIPAA compliance if you do not know what you are dealing with. Whomever you delegate the compliance officer role to needs to start by gathering crucial information about the state of your compliance.
This is one way in which an IT company can be so helpful. Many IT companies that specialize in HIPAA compliance and offer assessment and audit services that double-check an organization’s compliance against widely accepted best practices.
Your assessment, whether handled independently or not, needs to cover both macro and micro levels to make sure your electronic protected health information (ePHI) is secure. This is a mandatory aspect of any healthcare organization’s compliance endeavors. Not only is it compulsory, but it is the foundation for implementing safeguards to better protect your organization.
Make Use Of Available Resources
Once you have determined where your compliance may be lacking, it is time to address any such areas. The best way to do so is to consult with your IT company and apply their expertise to the task.
Your IT company should be capable of recommending and implementing policies and procedures. These will provide your staff, and anyone who handles your sensitive information, a blueprint explaining the do’s and do not’s when it comes to HIPAA compliance.
Equip Your Staff With What They Need To Succeed
With the right practices and policies in place, the last part of your cybersecurity defense that needs attention is you and your employees. The best cybersecurity technology and practices in the world can be undone by one staff member who does not understand how to use them, or how to protect the data they work with.
A comprehensive compliance and cybersecurity training program (delivered by your local IT company) will teach your staff how to handle a range of potential situations:
- How to participate in compliance best practices
- How to identify and address suspicious emails, phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and more.
- How to use business technology without exposing patient data and other assets to external threats by accident.
- How to respond when you suspect that your organization is noncompliant.
Implement An Incident Response Plan
No matter how well you follow the above steps, do not ever assume that you are 100% protected from noncompliance and/or cybercrime. You have to have contingencies in place to dictate your response in the event that something goes wrong.
This incident response plan should cover both how you determine that a breach has occurred, as well as how you report it.
Don’t think you can’t ask for help – Alvarez Technology Group will help implement robust compliance solutions and best practice to make sure you’re not at risk.
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