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Keeping Your Office Workflow HIPAA Compliant in 2015

Posted by Megan Ludzenski on Feb 2, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Maintaining HIPAA compliance is a big deal in all healthcare capacities, and it is important to maintain your compliance system. Staying up-to-date with procedures can help you avoid breaches and costly consequences. Today, we are going to share with you some management tips that will help you ensure HIPAA compliance throughout your office, and benefit your overall office workflow.

Tips for Keeping Your Practice HIPAA Compliant and Boosting Office Workflow

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Monitor Employee Compliance

Legally, your staff needs to be knowledgable of HIPAA policies and procedures. Any time you hire a new staff member, ask for documentation of their HIPAA training and save the documentation. If they haven't completed training, you need to make sure they get trained before they are allowed access to any patient data.

Beyond new staff, you should be monitoring your current employees to make sure that they are remaining compliant throughout their daily office tasks. Check their work areas to verify that passwords are not visible and sensitive patient information is protected. If an employee leaves your practice ensure that their access to patient information is revoked and that passwords are changed.

Don't Take Risk Analysis Lightly

Your risk analysis information is important to your practice. It isn't something that you should just document for the sake of being HIPAA compliant, and then file deep away to ignore.The analysis should be reviewed regularly (at the very least once a year), and any changes in your practice should be documented. Significant changes that need to be documented include things like implementation of new EHR software, switching office locations, or changing IT data centers. 

Verify that Your Business Associates are Compliant

Of course you should be able to trust your business associates, but don't do so blindly. Check with them, and ask for verification of their HIPAA compliance. This includes your associates’ subcontractors! Verification secures your compliances and helps prevent someone from outside of your practice from breaching information and costing you money as a result! 

Be Aware of How You Use Social Media

We talk a lot about the importance of using social media as a marketing tool, but it doesn't make it a space for sharing patient information. Don't post patient information on your social media accounts without their permission. It is also good practice to avoid complaining about your patients online. Having a negative attitude towards patients on social media doesn't paint a pretty picture of your business!

If a current or potential patient reaches out to you on social media, don’t give them medical advice online!  Encourage new patients to contact your office to schedule a visit instead, and encourage existing patients to take advantage of your practice’s patient portal if they want to ask health questions online.

Ensure Your Medical Apps are HIPAA Compliant

We love technology, but make sure that any medical apps you are using in your practice specifically state that they are HIPAA-compliant or HIPAA-secure. If they don't promise compliance, don't use them, it's that simple!

Schedule Your HIPAA Compliant Management

We know it can be hard to remember everything that ensures HIPAA compliance in your practice. That’s why our final tip is to encourage you to use your computer to schedule HIPAA audits for your office. Set reminders to review things like your risk analysis, business associate contracts, cloud software, back-up company, and so on. Taking the time to schedule these reminders could save you time and money in the long run!

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Topics: Tips for ECPs, Practice Management, Industry Pulse, Office Manager

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