All healthcare organizations that come under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) are known as ‘covered entities’. All covered entities are required to comply with the rules and regulations of the act. Therefore, they need to provide HIPAA training for their employees in order to protect the privacy of patients’ medical records.
To ensure that the medical information of patients is protected, healthcare organizations have certain privacy and security standards that employees need to follow. Employees will only be able to understand these standards when they undergo training.
Nowadays HIPAA training and exams has become a part of healthcare organizations, as the employers have understood that it necessary to ensure better compliance of HIPAA rules and to prevent violations.
Here are four reason any healthcare professionals need HIPAA training and exams.
• A covered entity is one which receives, uses, stores, and shares private health information of patients. All covered entities must take the responsibility to provide HIPAA training for all its employees including volunteers and trainees. This training is available through seminars, newsletter updates, online programs, and on-the-job training courses.
• Healthcare professionals are trained according to their job functions and responsibilities at work. For e.g. an employee who directly deals with use and maintenance of medical records will need to be trained about different issues than one who does not directly work with these records. All the training programs are focused to help decrease the risk of abuse of confidential patient information and to reduce violations.
• These days, most healthcare organizations use paperless records, i.e. all patient information are stored, shared, and used through the computer. Therefore, employees need to know the safeguards to follow when dealing with sensitive information of patients. Passwords are to be used when storing information, which should not be shared with any unauthorized personnel. Any files shared online must be encrypted and password protected. All healthcare professionals must be trained about these safeguards so that are able to comply with them to prevent misuse of information and face the penalties resulting from violations.
• The covered entities must also make provisions for their employees to receive ongoing training. This will ensure that they remain compliant to any changes made in HIPAA rules and regulations. Regular newsletters must be sent to notify the employees about any amendments to this act. Based on the number and frequency of amendments, ongoing training courses can be held every six months to one year for the employees.
If there is a large group of employees that need to be trained, employers can arrange for a trainer to come to the job site to provide the training. If they opt for the online program, employees can complete the course individually from their home, on the internet. As it is the more convenient and flexible option more people prefer the online program.
Employees must understand the importance of protecting the privacy of patient information. They must realize that violations will result in severe punishments and may even cost them their jobs. Hence, is very essential for healthcare employees to undergo HIPAA training and exams.