Under the HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), workforce training on HIPAA policies and procedures is required. However, what is the purpose of HIPAA training? Throughout this article, we discuss the benefits of HIPAA training and the importance of providing ongoing refresher training to the workforce during onboarding.
What is the importance of HIPAA training?
HIPAA compliance requires extensive training. The organization ensures that employees receive HIPAA training that complies with the latest guidelines on safeguarding protected health information (PHI).
The purpose of HIPAA training for employees is to provide information about the HIPAA Act. As a result, they can better understand their role in compliance. Your business is at risk if you do not receive proper compliance training. The fines associated with HIPAA violations are not to be taken lightly.
HIPAA rules require a minimum fine of $50,000 for willful violations. Individuals are subject to a maximum criminal penalty of $250,000 for violating HIPAA regulations.
It is also possible that you will be required to make restitution to the victims. In addition to fines, jail terms are often imposed for criminal violations. Are you interested in knowing about the importance of HIPAA training and certification? Keep reading the purpose of HIPPA compliance
The purpose of HIPPA training
Providing HIPAA training is designed to ensure that all employees who interact with protected health information (PHI) are aware of the policies and procedures governing that information, including:
-Use and disclosure of such information
-Safeguarding such information
-How to work in a HIPAA-compliant manner
-The consequences of violating HIPAA.
Educating the workforce about HIPAA and going above and beyond the letter of the law has several advantages. In addition, merely providing training on HIPAA specific to a particular role may not be sufficient to convey the importance of HIPAA, which can lead to accidental HIPAA violations.
Reducing the risk of accidental HIPAA violations
Healthcare professionals may be unaware of HIPAA’s restrictions on using and disclosing PHI if they are not provided with training on policies and procedures. Furthermore, staff members may be unaware of the patient’s rights regarding their protected health information. Many HIPAA violations would likely occur as a result.
The purpose of HIPAA training is to ensure that employees are mindful of their responsibilities under HIPAA laws and that they play a vital role in ensuring compliance with HIPAA laws by their employer. If an employee violates HIPAA, whether it is accidental or deliberate, it reflects poorly on the organization, may result in sanctions and penalties, and may damage the reputation of the organization. Employers must ensure that employees receive comprehensive training to avoid potential violations of HIPAA.
Employee training fosters trust among patients
Originally, HIPAA was enacted to improve the portability of health insurance, improve the efficiency of the healthcare system, and eliminate waste. Regulations regarding privacy and security were introduced later. By having a HIPAA-compliant workforce, you can improve efficiency, which ultimately benefits your patients.
It is important to have employees know the HIPAA Rules and understand the patient’s rights and the need for privacy to foster patient trust. After all, patients disclose highly sensitive information to their healthcare providers, so they need to be able to trust them to keep it confidential.
Patients who do not trust the healthcare providers with their data may withhold information, potentially compromising patient safety.
Take steps to reduce the risk of data breaches
In addition to HIPAA training, another HIPAA requirement is security awareness training for employees. The covered entity or business associate uses a risk assessment to determine what training is required under HIPAA.
The regular provision of security awareness training can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach. IT departments often focus on technical security measures to protect networks, including antivirus software, intrusion detection systems, firewalls, and email security gateways. However, human error is frequently the cause of data breaches.
According to IBM Security’s 2021 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, approximately 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error. It is possible to prevent costly data breaches and eliminate risky behaviors by providing employees with security awareness training.
Demonstrate reasonable faith efforts to achieve compliance
It is possible to eliminate the risk of accidental HIPAA violations in HIPAA-regulated entities by providing comprehensive training to their employees. Still, it will not be possible to eliminate all risks. Occasionally, rogue employees may violate HIPAA, steal patient data, or snoop on patient records. Keeping these incidents to a minimum is possible through training.
HHS must be notified when impermissible access or disclosure of protected health information occurs. HHS investigates data breaches to determine whether they result from noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules. Providing initial training to employees regarding their HIPAA responsibilities and providing refresher training demonstrates to regulators that the organization is committed to achieving compliance.
In response to a HIPAA violation, the HHS may provide technical assistance rather than a financial penalty and other sanctions if comprehensive training has been provided to the workforce.
What is the expected completion time for HIPAA training?
It is theoretically impossible to complete HIPAA training. Because every time a new regulation, policy, working method, or technology is introduced, employees will require refresher training to ensure that the new rules, policies, working methods, or technologies are applied in compliance with HIPAA. In addition, security and awareness training should be provided continuingly.
Healthcare employees should receive HIPAA training to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities under the Act to perform their duties in a manner that complies with HIPAA. You can improve efficiency, build trust, and minimize the risk of accidental HIPAA violations and costly data breaches by conducting HIPAA training.
HIPAA does not require annual employee training, but it is recommended as it allows employees to be reminded of the importance of HIPAA compliance and their role in ensuring their employer remains in compliance. Training is a constant process and can never be completed as the new rules and regulations are made with time.