What is HIPAA?
HIPAA is an acronym for Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act. It was made into a law in 1996 during the Bill Clinton administration as part of legislation to provide data privacy and security for patient data at healthcare institutions. HIPAA offers an industry-wide standard for health care information on several different processes such as electronic billing, data sharing, database encryption, the time required to provide the patient’s medical record, and more. It can help the healthcare system of any institution to become more efficient and effective. It can also act as a competitive advantage for healthcare institutions.
What are the benefits of HIPAA Compliance?
There are several benefits of HIPAA compliance, including the six advantages listed below:
1) Minimizes probability of data breach
Healthcare institutions in full compliance with HIPAA use security practices on all shared electronic documents. Healthcare institutions who are not HIPAA compliant, only use such security protocols for EMR (Electronic Medical Record). HIPAA mandates the use of encryption for an added layer of security. In some cases, the database storage units are also required to be encrypted.
This applied to transmission transactions such as emails, instant messages, etc. Also, HIPAA guidelines enforce measures for organizations to secure placement of workstations being used to access patient data. There is also a requirement to have a policy of granting or revoking access to the facility.
2) Faster Document Retrieval
One of the pillars of HIPAA is to make a healthcare institute more efficient. Part of this efficiency is being able to provide patients with their medical records promptly. Using cloud technology has helped in allowing for faster retrievable of medical records. Previous versions of HIPAA might be lagging in this, but the latest policies require a healthcare institute to provide a patient with their or her medical record within 36 hours of the request.
3) Increases patient satisfaction
Several features of HIPAA contribute to an improved patient experience. The ability to do HIPPA compliant esignatures for patients or doctors have provided more convenience and efficiency. Patients have a better peace of mind knowing their data is secured, and their privacy is given importance at HIPAA compliant facilities. HIPAA also can allow a patient to transfer or continue health insurance during loss or transition of job.
4) Reduces medical errors
HIPAA can assist in reducing human errors and automating back-office functions. It is a crucial advantage to have accurate information for positive patient outcomes. Automation is part of the core guidelines of HIPAA. It also helps in building the reliability of the data by minimizing errors in EMR. If the institution uses analytics to improve business, administration or patient outcomes, the more reliable data will be more useful.
5) Positive competitive differentiator
With all the benefits of HIPAA to the patient, it can act as a positive competitive advantage over institutions that are not compliant with HIPAA standards. Patients can highly value benefits, such as increases in data security and quicker access to medical records. Being HIPAA compliant also shows the healthcare institution cares about maintaining the highest level of industry standards.
6) Culture of compliance
Creating a culture of compliance requires considerable effort from the leadership of the healthcare institution. One of the ways to achieve this is through use of a HIPAA compliant electronic signature . As part of the HIPAA compliance, the healthcare workers at all levels should be educated on the importance of compliance standards and learn the “right way” to handle patient information. Apart from the push from senior leadership, the middle managers will play a crucial role by demonstrating it to front-line employees on a more regular basis.