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Keeping Up with HIPAA in Your Optometric Practice in 2017

Posted by Janelle Pauli on Jan 7, 2017 11:01:00 AM
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HIPAA compliance is an ongoing task for every healthcare business, including your optometric practice. Staying up to date on the latest rules and regulations, and keeping tabs on compliance among your staff can be a lot of work. NueMD conducted a HIPAA survey in 2014 and 2016 to see how HIPAA has changed in terms of knowledge of regulations, steps taken towards compliance, and the intro of electronic devices around the work place. See how your practice compares to others in the industry when it comes to HIPAA compliance.

How HIPAA Compliant is Your Optometric Practice?

Do you have a HIPAA compliance plan?optometric practice HIPAA compliance

The biggest positive change the survey results found, was that in 2014 only 58% of respondents said their HIPAA compliance plan was in effect, while now over 70% claim to have compliance plans.

Are you diligent on annual training?

Based on the survey, it looks like practices are slipping in annual staff training. In 2014, 62% of owners, managers, and admins said they provided annual staff training, but in 2016 that number dropped to 58%.  

How much mobile, email, texting, and social media communication does your practice participate in?

The increased use in technology and online communication can play an important role in your practice's HIPAA compliance. When looking at the usage of mobile, email, text, and social media to communicate with patients the biggest increase was in text message usage going from 29% to 35%.

But, when it comes to the confidence of these types of electronic communications being HIPAA compliant, most respondents were only  20%-34% confident that their devices are HIPAA compliant, with email being the most secure. 

Do you annually renew and update your Business Associate Agreements (BAAs)?

Any business associate agreements that involve access to protected health information from your practice need to comply to HIPAA regulations and safeguards. These third parties can be responsible or held liable for HIPAA violations. In 2014, 60% of respondents were in the know when it comes to HIPAA BAA rules, and in 2016 that number jumped to 68%.

How confident are you in your practice's overall HIPAA compliance?

Looking at the survey results, it appears overall confidence in HIPAA compliance has mostly stayed the same. In 2014, 81% said they were "very" or "somewhat" confident in their compliance, compared to 83% saying the same in 2016.

If you're not falling in the "very" category when it comes to confidence in your practice's HIPAA compliance, we have a few resources to help you get your practice back on track in 2017:

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Topics: Tips for ECPs, Optometry Software, Optometrist

Want more optometry practice management tips? Check out our blogs.