Under the HITECH Act, Phase 2 audits for HIPAA compliance are currently underway, and will continue until June 2015. These audits will include all covered entities, as well as business associates such as software vendors and medical billing companies.
According to HITECH regulations, every practice is required to conduct a risk analysis. Studies, however, have shown that many medical practices continue to be unprepared. In a recent survey of 1,200 medical practices and billing companies, results showed that 66% weren’t aware of the upcoming HIPAA audits, while only 35% had performed a HIPAA-required risk analysis.
HIPAA compliance is key to a successful healthcare practice; yet it’s easy to get overwhelmed by regulatory compliance issues. In today’s healthcare industry, IT regulatory compliance standards seem to be changing constantly, while information security continues to be a primary concern for medical professionals as they balance the needs of their patients with the day-to-day workloads of their office staff.
Is there a surefire way to ensure that your practice will be up-to-date and ready for these audits? The answer is yes — because the best way to navigate through today’s ever-changing compliance regulations is to hire a third-party virtual compliance consultant.
Benefits of Hiring a Regulatory Consultant
With the right regulatory compliance solutions, HIPAA audits can be dealt with quickly and effectively. Fortunately for healthcare providers, there’s a wide range of information security solutions available to cover everything from HIPAA compliance to Internet security. Best of all, these security and compliance solutions can be easily implemented into any type of office management system.
The best way to ensure total HIPAA compliance is to hire an information security consultant from a reputable firm. Typically, an IT security consulting company will send out a specially-trained information security officer to help identify any potential security vulnerabilities or privacy breaches that could be uncovered during audits. Likewise, these information security companies may also recommend certain software packages that can systematically organize and streamline all of your data so that it’s completely compliant and up-to-date.
HIPAA Compliance: Training the Team
HIPAA compliance is a collaborative effort that the entire healthcare practice needs to be involved in. A regulatory compliance company can help train staff members to effectively manage these issues on a day-to-day basis. Likewise, a security consultancy can also train office staff in the latest security strategies for protecting private data.
Regulatory compliance consultants have the special skills to help you and your practice stay up-to-date on the ever-changing regulatory landscape. In addition to helping you manage and streamline your data, they’ll also let you know if you need to update any software or office protocols within your own practice. Likewise, an experienced security consulting service can also break down this security training into specific, easy-to-learn tasks so that your office staff doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Healthcare regulatory compliance doesn’t have to be difficult or daunting. When implemented and utilized effectively in a medical practice, HIPAA compliance helps medical staff to streamline and organize their security systems to ensure maximum privacy for both patients and healthcare practitioners. With the help of a security consulting company to manage data and implement the most effective software programs, today’s healthcare professionals can spend their time concentrating on what they’re trained to do — healing the sick and saving lives.
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