Health Information Management

Tips to help ensure HIPAA compliance

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 15, 2011

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As healthcare organizations look to the future, they should focus on ensuring HIPAA compliance, said attorney Jeff P. Drummond, Esq. Drummond, a health law partner in the Dallas office of Jackson Walker, LLP, and the author of HIPAA Blog, offers the following suggestions:

  • Make privacy a cultural element. Everyone in an organization should make patient privacy a priority. Organizations should incorporate privacy into their culture by ensuring that everyone understands the importance of protecting protected health information and the consequences of failing to do so. Regular training and HIPAA educational events are integral to this effort. Treating breaches and violations seriously, which includes the swift termination of problematic employees, is perhaps the best way to ensure that staff adopts a culture of privacy.
  • Ensure that documentation is in order. Regardless of how well an organization does what it’s required to do, it needs paperwork to back up its actions. The Office for Civil Rights is developing an audit program to determine HIPAA compliance. Auditors will examine a covered entity’s documentation, which should include at a minimum the following information:
    • Policies and procedures
    • Business associate agreements
    • Other forms
Editor’s note: For additional tips, see the March issue of Briefings on HIPAA.



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