The EHR Software and HIPAA Compliance Guide: Take Your Practice into the 21st Century

This guest article was provided to us by Compliancy Group. Compliancy Group has developed industry leading HIPAA compliance software for both Covered Entities and Business Associates.

 

HIPAA Compliance and EHR: Take Your Practice into the 21st Century

Survival in today’s health care market depends on evolution. Adopting new technologies to respond to new challenges has become increasingly important, especially with new threats to health care data.

Two essential technologies you can leverage to inoculate against these threats are EHR platforms and HIPAA compliance solutions.

EHR platforms give you a secure, care-focused way to maintain and organize your patient records. And naturally, when dealing with sensitive health care data, it’s essential to take HIPAA compliance into account as well.

HIPAA regulation for EHRs requires all health care providers to comply with national security and privacy standards to safeguard protected health information (PHI).

Protected health information is any demographic information that can be used to identify a patient. PHI includes patients’ names, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, health care information, addresses, phone numbers, and full facial photos, to name a few examples.

EHR data is necessarily considered PHI under HIPAA regulation. That’s why it’s essential for you to adopt a HIPAA compliance program in addition to your EHR platform. The two go hand-in- hand to protect your practice, all while providing patients with a higher quality of care.

Compliance and Security

EHR platforms and HIPAA compliance software address the necessary compliance and security needs of your practice.

When considering a HIPAA compliance software for your business, you need to make sure that it addresses the full extent of the regulatory requirements. An effective HIPAA compliance software must give you the tools to address:

  • Self-Audits – HIPAA requires you to conduct annual audits of your practice to assess Administrative, Technical, and Physical gaps in compliance with HIPAA
  • Privacy and Security standards – These should be built in to your software.
  • Remediation Plans – Once your HIPAA compliance software has identified gaps, you must implement remediation plans to reverse compliance violations.
  • Policies, Procedures, Employee Training – To avoid compliance violations in the future, you’ll need to develop Policies and Procedures corresponding to HIPAA regulatory standards. Annual staff training on these Policies and Procedures is required.
  • Documentation – Your HIPAA compliance software must document ALL efforts you take to become HIPAA compliant. This documentation is critical and must be maintained for six years.
  • Business Associate Management – An effective software must document all vendors with whom you share protected health information (PHI), and execute Business Associate Agreements to ensure PHI is handled securely and mitigate liability.
  • Incident Management – If your practice has a data breach, your software must have a process to document the breach and notify patients that their data has been compromised.

Keep in mind the recent string of ransomware incidents that have been hitting major health care organizations across the globe—the most recent of which affected over 150 countries. EHR platforms give you secure means of protecting sensitive data, but even the most secure systems can be susceptible to a malware incident.

That’s where an effective HIPAA compliance program comes into play. In the unfortunate event of a breach, HIPAA compliance will protect your practice from hefty government fines, which reached $17.1 million in the first six months of 2017 alone.

HIPAA compliance is your best line of defense in the event of a breach, allowing you to keep your practice running without incurring the reputational damage that comes with a long-term HIPAA investigation, orchestrated by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

When it comes down to it, EHR platforms adopted alongside HIPAA compliance software give your practice the best chance of protecting patient data in this changing climate of threats to data security.

Find HIPAA-Compliant EHR Software With Record Nations Today

There’s a delicate balance between EHR software and HIPAA-compliancy, but with the help of Record Nations you can find a system that offers the best of both worlds for your practice.

To get a free, no-obligation quote on EHR software or other types of document management systems in just minutes, just fill out the form to your right, or simply give us a call at (866) 385-3706 today!