HIPAA 5010 is a complex set of regulations that medical professionals must be familiar with and abide by – and make sure those who are working for them do as well. Failing to comply can lead to disciplinary issues, litigation, and fines. Here are some tips to ensure that your office falls in line with HIPAA 5010.
Maintain One HIPAA 5010 Trained Person In-Office
First, you must have someone in your office who is dedicated to understanding as much about HIPAA as possible. Find a member of your staff who is bright and will not be daunted by sometimes confusing regulations; make that person the HIPAA project manager.
- They should stay up on new changes to the regulations; frequently attend trainings; and be in good communication with others that you do business with to both share ideas on compliance and make sure they too are compliant.
Support your Project Manager with a Team
There should also be a team backing your project manager up. A group that is representative of all of the parts of your office will ensure that HIPAA compliance policies are both effective and realistic for the nature of your practice, whatever it may be.
- They should have access to legal counsel to make sure they are handling matters appropriately, and they need to be able to develop and implement new ways to improve your HIPAA 5010 compliance.
Automate Where Possible
Automating your office will not only help you with HIPAA compliance, but will also save time and reduce errors that can be costly both to your patients and to your bottom line. Have all HIPAA privacy policies, consent forms, and releases of information electronically available for your retrieval. Hand in hand with this, of course, is making sure that your data is securely stored and appropriately managed.
- Establish a good relationship with a software provider that spends much of their time working with HIPAA – and is not afraid of the ever developing and changing regulations.
Communicate with Vendors
Maintain open communication with your vendors to make sure that they are HIPAA compliant. The last thing you want is for your carefully thought out compliance policies to be almost meaningless when your vendors drop the ball. Not only will you have more peace of mind in knowing and understanding what they are doing, but you also may pick up useful advice for your office! When you are choosing to work with vendors initially, highlight the importance of staying in compliance and ask them to explain how they think they are able to meet your expectations in this arena.
- Most vendors will be familiar with HIPAA and have their own processes in line, so you may just need to make them clear upfront about your expectations.
Get Help When You Need It
Do not be afraid to go to professionals when you need help. Remember that you are a doctor because you are good at treating patients – not understanding and interpreting obscure rules and regulations. The small amount of money you may spend now will be a great investment in the time, energy, money, and grief you will have if you fail to comply with HIPAA!
Don’t be afraid to confront a lack of knowledge by asking for help.