HIPAA Audits on the Rise
HIPAA is a living, breathing document. It changes and adjusts for the needs of the healthcare community. While the adjustments are needed, they can sometimes be confusing for individuals and how it effects their roles. Staying current on HIPAA updates helps the patients as well as any organization as a whole.
In 2016, HIPAA audits rose. As pointed out in a recent article on HIPAA audit impact, “Both HIPAA-covered entities and Business Associates should keep their eyes open since Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been under particular pressure to address issues around privacy and security, as well as inconsistent enforcement of existing rules.”
OCR is looking for consistency for the industry and the patients that it serves. This is something that is going to affect many aspects of the industry as a whole. In order to ensure that you are protected and know what is required for your role, you need to ensure you understand the changes and how a potential audit could affect all employees.
Why is there a Need for a HIPAA Audit?
The changes in HIPAA seemed to focus mainly in the communication and record keeping portion. Since advancements can occur quickly, the adjustments made are reflective of that. The audits are work to ensure everyone is up to date with procedure.
Protection of patient records are vital to healthcare organizations. For example, with recent technological advancements, patients could potentially transfer information from their cell phones to a clinic. How does a clinic accept that information? Should they accept it? Is it HIPAA compliant? These questions must be taken into consideration.
What Will the Audit Do?
As with most audits, a HIPAA audit can benefit from keeping proper records and documentation. These audits began in 2014, the 2016 audits will be the last phase. The 2016 audits will review the communication lines as well as items such as encryption. The audit will change the way many people in healthcare are behaving. It may change the way certain roles are defined and how patients are served. Documentation, compliance and transparency will all help any healthcare organization be successful during an audit situation.
If you are interested in developing a deeper understanding of the HIPAA audit process, you may want to consider pursuing a degree in healthcare administration.