Answering phone calls, checking in patients, explaining treatment plans, and now taking temperatures and discussing new safety protocols. Through these day-to-day activities, the main focus of your team is the patient experience. As you implement added safety measures and re-train your staff, your attention must also be on compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
The good news about the HIPAA law is that the “target” generally stays consistent. When it comes to HIPAA, it is best for your focus to be on understanding what it takes for your team and practice to hit the mark.
Here are some tips to help you and your staff be successful in implementing HIPAA-compliance training and procedures.
- Designate a compliance officer. Whether it’s the doctor, the office manager or another team member, make sure you assign a HIPAA expert.
- Have your compliance officer create a policy book for all employees to be trained on and referred to on this topic. Update it often as your practice evolves, at least once annually.
- Understand key HIPAA requirements such as business associate agreements, data back-up and disaster recovery, email and server encryption, risk management processes, protection of patient health information, as well as the elements of reporting a breach.
- Evaluate the risks at your practice. Pinpoint the vulnerabilities and possible compromises that exist. Consider using a vendor to assist with this.
- Create a plan and incorporate it into your continuous staff training.
Awareness of HIPAA laws and how they impact your practice, staff and patients can be more easily achieved with the help of the WDA Insurance & Services Corp. (WDAISC). Staff members are here to help you choose the right tools and plan of attack so that your practice can hit the mark.
In late September, WDAISC, offered a HIPAA Compliance webinar as part of our Annual Risk Management Seminar. The WDAISC partnered with Nan Dreves, RDH, MBA, a dental practice consultant from Professional Health Horizons, providing a great opportunity for CE and useful information. WDAISC has also launched Den Tech Complete (www.dentechcomplete.com), a multi-layered approach to ensuring the security and consistency of operations in your practice, which includes HIPAA risk analysis services and technology solutions. Continue to look to us for practice management resources and guidance through these uncertain times and beyond.
For more information regarding HIPAA laws or assistance in making sure your practice has a plan, contact Jeremy Hengst at [email protected].