In this blog, we dive into why the issue of data privacy is so important to your business.
There are myriad rules and regulations regarding patient privacy for a reason. Non-compliance is a very serious matter. An organization that is not in compliance won’t simply be able to claim ignorance, and even if it does, there are potential criminal ramifications.
There are four tiers of HIPAA violations that range from small fines to ones of over $50,000 (minimum, per violation). An organization with several tier four violations can find itself on the hook for up to nearly 2 million dollars in fines in a single year. Very few businesses can withstand such a blow financially, let alone reputationally.
In some cases, a violation can be characterized as criminal, not civil, and even include penalties like jail time.
It is pivotal that your business remains in compliance, as falling out of line can mean the end of your business, or worse.
Preventing Data Breaches
Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, and you need to be sure your systems and security can keep up. Medical billing systems are a prime target for cybercriminals because of the valuable patient information they contain, from credit cards, to medical history, to social security numbers. A data breach can result in the theft or exposure of patient data, leading to identity theft, fraud, and other serious consequences.
Moreover, a breach can be catastrophic to your business’ reputation. No practice or biller wants the reputational damage associated with its patient’s personal information being leaked.
To prevent data breaches, medical billing systems must have robust security measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and access controls. Your business should spare no expense on ensuring you have best-in-class technology and minds behind your security.
Your relationship with patients is the most important aspect of your practice. Your patients share confidential information that they likely wouldn’t share with others. It is pivotal that you take care of this information, and keep it private.
Your patients need to be certain that their medical information, including test results and diagnoses are safe in your hands. If this is not the case, they will take their business elsewhere.
It is critical that you do not undervalue how important data privacy is to your patients. Remember, you are one breach away from disaster, and decades of good-will being torn to shreds instantly.
How to Promote Compliance
There are two primary ways your business can promote compliance with all data privacy/security requirements:
1. Protecting Your Systems: There are countless productive steps your practice or billing (RCM) organization can take to ensure you are taking proper care of patient data
Some of these include
-Extensive password protection
-Regularly updated firewalls and antivirus software
-Access to a secure data-backup source
-Encryption for transferred files
-Information access control/authorization protocol
-Regular technical evaluations to assess threats and potential issues
2. Training Your Employees: When it comes to training your employees, there are two primary buckets you should be focusing on:
Training on your organization’s policies and procedures: General, low-cost training that answers basic questions like “what is HIPAA” is not going to go very far in ensuring compliance. Your employees need to participate in comprehensive, ongoing training specific to your organization and its procedures. This should contain a thorough exam that team members must pass to demonstrate their understanding.
Remember: your organization can have the best compliance program in the industry, but if your employees don’t know about it, it is very easy to slip into non-compliance and encounter major issues that can sink your business.
Training regarding privacy and security as it relates to HIPAA: In addition to company policies and procedures they’ll encounter in their day-to-day, your team should also have a robust understanding of HIPAA itself, and what is and is not compliant.
If you are curious how your organization can improve its compliance, Live Compliance is an exceptional resource and partner for getting you where you need to be.
Are you sure your medical billing system is safe and secure? If you have any doubts, your business is likely in a compromising position. EZClaim is a cloud-based, secure medical billing software that you can access from anywhere, but only with the right permissions. Our top priority is keeping your data secure, and ensuring your business runs as smoothly as possible. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how EZClaim can transform your business!