How Small Businesses Often Struggle With HIPAA Compliance
The moment most people hear about HIPAA compliance, they assume it is only relevant to large hospital systems or big medical organizations. However, small business owners need to focus on HIPAA compliance as well. Organizations have a responsibility to patients and customers to maintain data security. This means that if you work with any medical service provider as a business owner, you need to focus on data documentation as well.
The struggle is real, but there are various ways that you can stay on top of things.
It Starts With Awareness
HIPAA compliance starts with becoming more aware of the guidelines and how you need to follow them. You may be unaware of pending audits, not have a compliance plan in place, or not be providing HIPAA training to your staff. Additionally, you may not have the confidence that your mobile devices are HIPAA compliant.
There are a lot of tools to help you, but you have to know about them to be able to make a difference. Some of the first things you want to do is:
- Set policies and procedures
- Implement security awareness training
- Take an annual risk assessment
- Start using encryption
Be Proactive With IT Management
Many small businesses aren’t as compliant as they think and this is because of not being proactive enough with IT management services. You could be leaving your company vulnerable to a cyber-attack that could lead to a data breach. Data could even be compromised internally, even by sheer accident.
This means that your goal needs to be to reduce the risk by having a disaster recovery plan in place. This will not only help you to be HIPAA compliant, but also help you to protect your reputation and finances. An estimated 30 percent of businesses don’t even have a plan, and this could spell big problems for you. Data that belongs to patients need to be backed up in a secure fashion and easy to restore.
You may have employees working for you that have no idea what HIPAA means. They could see patient data all the time and have no idea how it should be handled. Even though you may not be a medical provider, the same rules apply. There should be annual compliance training scheduled for your employees. This will tell them what they need to do to impact data security. Courses and seminars can help you to stay in the know with best practices. Whether you send an email, create login credentials for an account, or send an attachment, you have to follow procedure. All of your employees need to do the same, or you could end up with a violation on your hands.
Are your mobile devices HIPAA compliant? If you’re not confident that they are, you’re not alone. All endpoints need to be protected when there is any kind of access to patient data. Mobile device management is an IT service that will make it easier to lock down and wipe devices in a remote fashion. This means that if a device becomes compromised, you will have the ability to wipe it clean so that patient data cannot be accessed. It is a security measure to show that you are doing everything you can to maintain the protection on sensitive data.
Small businesses have it harder than anyone else. It can be difficult to know what needs to be done and what services need to be implemented. The good news is that there are ways to simplify HIPAA compliancy as long as you focus on awareness of the issue. Everything will be easier to maintain once you have a plan in place.
For more information on how to maintain HIPAA compliance in your organization contact CORE Business Services.