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HIPAA IT Compliance And What It Means To Your Medical Practice

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was created and put into effect as a way to protect electronic personal health information. HIPAA IT compliance means that physical and virtual configurations from networks and servers to virtual machines must be assessed against HIPAA policy and proven to be following these regulatory laws if an audit were to be done. Here is how you can ensure that your medical practice is following the HIPAA guidelines to ensure that you’re not breaking federal law which could put you out of business.

Make Certain Everyone at Your Practice takes Security Seriously

HIPAA requires that your medical practice has written security policies and procedures in place including those policies and procedures which cover staff training and sanctions for security policy violations. This means that you have to be sure that everyone working for you understands basic security logic and takes patient privacy very seriously. You should see to it that your computers are placed in your office where passersby cannot see the screens that may be displaying private patient information. Do not put your computers out in the open and make sure all your staff knows that they are not to allow patients and other non-employees into areas where your computers are located.

Be Prepared for any Possible Disaster Before it Occurs

One of the most important aspects of computer security has to do with the protection of electronic data from loss to ensure its integrity. It is very common for data losses to occur due to human error and because some type of emergency or disaster took place. It is therefore of the utmost importance to come up with a plan just in case disaster strikes to  ensure that your data is not lost or compromised. You should have a backup system in place that helps you retrieve exact copies of your patient information if the original documents are lost or damaged.

Use Up-to-Date Anti-Virus Software

There is no doubt that you connect to the world wide web many times during the typical work day. As far as risking the data on your computer goes, connecting your computer to the internet is the most perilous activity you can engage in. A virus can very easily be attached to an email, program file or data file. If that were to happen, the virus could infect all of your hard disks and change or erase your data. This is why you need to be using a very reputable anti-virus software program that is updated frequently.

Buy Cyber Liability Insurance

Considering that liability for loss of patient data is not typically covered under a business insurance policy, it would be wise to buy a cyber liability insurance policy and ensure HIPAA IT compliance. This type of insurance will cover you if your practice has to curtail operations which an investigation takes place which pertains to a security breach. This type of insurance policy can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000 a year, depending upon the size of your practice and what is covered.

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Steven Moran is a hospital administrator. He also blogs about medical services and health care.

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