How to Become HIPAA Compliant – Guide for Dallas Healthcare Providers
The topic of HIPAA compliance is one that can confuse and scare many Dallas healthcare providers. After all, the threat of a breach of healthcare information systems is very real, as well as the financial loss and business disruption that can come with it. Combine that with the fact that many medical and dental offices throughout Dallas lack the time and resources necessary to properly implement the security plans and procedures required by HIPAA. It’s no surprise as to why it appears daunting.
Thankfully, however, there are resources available from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for Dallas healthcare providers to either achieve HIPAA compliance themselves, or outsource to a local Dallas company who specializes in helping medical and dental offices comply.
This article will reveal everything you need to know to get your Dallas healthcare office to comply with HIPAA law.
What Is HIPAA Compliance?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, commonly known as HIPAA was created to modernize the flow of healthcare information, stipulate how private patient information is maintained and protected by healthcare organizations, and address limitations on healthcare insurance coverage.
HIPAA compliance for healthcare providers, therefore, concerns the implementation of cybersecurity standards by providers to protect patient health records from fraud and theft. All Healthcare organizations, including medical and dental offices, are required by law to meet the information security standards as defined by the HIPAA Security Rule. In short, the security rule states that all relevant patient health information must be kept private, secure, and available at all times.
So how do you keep your patient data private, secure, and available at all times? We outline two options…
How To Become HIPAA Compliant In Dallas
HIPAA compliance covers a whole host of different sections, including technical safeguards, physical safeguards, administrative safeguards, privacy rules, breach notification rules, and omnibus rules. Despite the vast coverage of the standards, the Security Rule itself is flexible. This means you can meet the compliance rules while still enjoying a tailored technological approach to the specific needs of your Dallas healthcare organization.
Regardless of which area of healthcare your business is in, there are two pathways that you can choose from – Do It Yourself or Outsource.
Do IT Yourself HIPAA Compliance
It is possible to use in-house strategies to achieve HIPAA compliance for your health organization, especially if it boasts a dedicated IT department. The HIPAA authority provides a number of online resources to complete various aspects of the process, helping you to ensure that all patient data is suitably protected.
When the company’s computer and data security experts use those tools for guidance, meeting the demands of the HIPAA Security Rule is possible.
The HIPAA Self-Assessment Checklist
The HIPAA Self-Assessment Checklist is an online guide that provides an itemized list of items that needs to be completed in order to meet the HIPAA compliance rulings. As a new business in the healthcare industry, you can tick off each item from the list of implementation specifications before paying extra attention to the issues that require extra work. Once all elements are satisfied, the patient data will be suitably protected.
Risk Assessment Resources
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology offers a free risk assessment tool that can support your in-house experts as they look to identify and prevent any risks that could potentially compromise your position as a HIPAA complicit company. Essentially, it helps your team view the company’s data security from the perspective of a prospective hacker to create an action plan and stamp out any potential vulnerabilities.
Given that new viruses, scams, and threats enter the market on a monthly basis, it will be necessary to revisit the risk assessment on a semi-frequent basis to stay one step ahead of the cybercriminals. Failure to do so can lead to significant data breach risks, compromising the quality of your service as well as HIPAA compliance status.
The NIST HSR Toolkit
The NIST HSR Toolkit adds further support to the risk assessment procedures. It is available for Mac OS, Windows, and Linux operating systems. When using the NIST HSR toolkit, you’ll be presented with a list of questions that will guide you towards the right actions for your health organization’s approach to HIPAA compliance. It provides confirmation of the aspects that are under control while also shining a light on any problem areas that require further work.
Outsourced HIPAA Compliance
For healthcare providers that lack the resources, achieving HIPAA compliance in-house isn’t always feasible. That’s why many healthcare providers in Dallas choose to outsource their compliance needs to a local Managed Service Provider who specializes in IT Services for Medical and Dental offices in Dallas.
Why Choose Outsourced HIPAA?
Opting for the outsourced solution may seem a little daunting as you will be putting the future of your business in someone else’s hands. In reality, though, it can be the most effective solution from a financial perspective as well as a logistical one.
Some of the best incentives for taking this route include;
- Cost Savings: You save money because you won’t need to pay for an in-house IT specialist or invest in specialized equipment.
- Focus Your Staff: Prevent the threat of distracting your employees from more important matters.
- Quick & Easy Compliance: Get the job completed in the quickest time possible.
- Gain Peace-of-Mind: Gain emotional reassurances from knowing that the best strategies and tech are in place.
- Maintain Compliance: Stay ahead of the game in case of new threats or changing HIPAA landscapes An outsourced provider will keep your IT security up-to-date.
Ultimately, then, this is the best solution for your budget as well as your sanity and productivity. If you own a small-to-mid-sized health organization in Dallas, the outsourced approach is probably the best route.
What Is Provided By Outsourced HIPAA Compliance Services?
Before committing to any outsourced HIPAA compliance service, you need to know that the level of service can contrast from one provider to the next. While we cannot speak for others, we know that our comprehensive service offers all that you need. Including;
We appreciate the HIPAA Security rulings in the United States as well as the obstacles that face healthcare organizations working in the Dallas region.
We analyze your current situation by looking at key features such as access to information systems, data record storage, incident response plans, and more to provide clear insight into how far away your company is from meeting the compliance regulations
We use the insight gained from the Gap Analysis to incorporate any necessary changes, from the minor to the monumental. Whether it’s an extensive upgrade of your network or simple modernization, compliance is assured.
We use a range of automated analytical tools to track your data protection systems and identify any new threats of vulnerabilities. This continuity strategy can make all the difference for your health organization for many years to come.
-If you’re a healthcare provider in Dallas and are concerned about your handling of patient data, consider getting in contact with our Healthcare IT professionals at Total IT. We would love to meet with you to examine your current situation and show you how our IT Services for Healthcare can help you secure your patients’ information and comply with HIPAA regulations.