When you run your own medical practice, you have a lot of responsibilities to ensure your practice operates effectively and meets all its legal obligations. As part of that, you need to protect your patient’s privacy and health care records, complying with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protection.
Some of the most common HIPAA violations include the following:
- Someone loses a non-encrypted phone, computer or tablet, or a non-encrypted tech device is stolen.
- Your employees aren’t properly trained in HIPAA compliance.
- Your practice is the victim of a data breach. Data breaches are becoming increasingly more common, so medical practices need to be vigilant about their cybersecurity systems and practices.
- Employees share patients’ private health information in the reception area, lunchroom, bathroom or other nonprivate location. It’s sometimes tempting to talk about a patient’s care outside of a closed office or exam room, but if someone else hears that information, that can be a HIPAA violation.
- Your practice doesn’t dispose of patients records properly. When your practice disposes of patient records, employees need to shred any paper records. Also, employees need to wipe patient records from computer hard drives when replacing that equipment.
Violating HIPAA rules can result in serious consequences for your practice. Your practice may have to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Your practice could lose the ability to take Medicare or Medicaid patients. A physician or nurse who has been a part of a serious HIPAA violation could face criminal charges and potentially lose their healthcare license.
Managing a healthcare practice includes training your employees on protecting patient’s private health information and taking steps to minimize the chance of someone improperly accessing patient health care records. Plus, you don’t want to compromise your patients’ trust in your practice to keep their health information private.