All posts by Alex Gallia


10 Top HIPAA Policies and Procedures Templates to Manage Compliance

hipaa-policies-and-procedures-templates

There’s no way of getting around HIPAA rules.

If you are a healthcare provider that comes into contact with Protected Health Information (PHI), HIPAA compliance is not voluntary. You simply have no option but to comply with HIPAA policies and procedures.

This can feel daunting, especially if you consider the continuous rise in data breaches experienced by the healthcare industry, particularly in the US.

“Figures from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights breach portal show a major increase in healthcare data breaches in 2019. Last year, 510 healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records were reported, which represents a 196% increase from 2018.” – Steve Alder, 2019 Healthcare Data Breach Report

It gets worse.

If your organization violates HIPAA regulations, you can face a jaw-dropping fine. Take, for example, the 2014 case in which the New York Presbyterian Hospital accidentally disclosed the records of 6,800 patients, making them available online and fully Google-able.

“The enactment of the Final Omnibus Rule in 2013 doubled the maximum fine for a single violation of HIPAA from $25,000 to $50,000 per compromised patient record. This meant that when the New York-Presbyterian Hospital inadvertently disclosed the unsecured records of 6,800 patients on the Internet, the potential fine for the violation of HIPAA could have been as much as $340 million. Fortunately (for the New York-Presbyterian Hospital) the breach of PHI was settled for $3.3 million.” – Marc LadinThe Importance of HIPAA Compliance: 7 Things You Should Know

Here are some other examples of HIPAA violations:

  • The University of California Los Angeles Health System was fined $865,000 for failing to restrict access to medical records.
  • North Memorial Health Care of Minnesota had to pay $1.55 million in a settlement, for failing to enter into a Business Associate Agreement with a major contractor.
  • The Memorial Healthcare System received a $5,500,000 penalty for insufficient ePHI access controls.
  • The Memorial Hermann Health System had to pay $2.4 million in a settlement for disclosing a patient’s PHI in a press release.

If you think these are one-off cases, you are sorely mistaken.

A report by the Ponemon Institute found that 90% of surveyed healthcare institutions had at least one data breach within the past two years. What’s even more concerning is the continuous rise in the costs incurred by healthcare organizations facing a breach.

The researchers found for the ninth consecutive year, the healthcare sector is still the hardest hit financially by data breaches.

“Over the past five years, the average cost of a data breach has increased by 12%. The global average cost of a data breach has increased to $3.92 million. The average breach size is 25,575 records and the cost per breached record is now $150; up from $148 last year. Data breach costs are the highest in the United States, where the average cost of a data breach is $8.19 million – or $242 per record. The average cost of a healthcare data breach in the United States is $15 million.” Steve Alder2019 Cost of A Data Breach Study Reveals Increase in U.S. Healthcare Data Breach Costs

All things considered, I think it’s clear why HIPAA compliance is so essential for not only protecting sensitive patient information, but also for minimizing the risk of a data breach that could result in a huge fine, not to mention lasting damage to the organization’s reputation.

Process Street’s HIPAA policies and procedures templates

Not to worry though. With the correct processes in place, you can maintain compliance without having to deal with any unwelcome surprises. It’s also not expensive to set up an effective solution.

The costs involved in implementing a secure messaging solution, conducting risk assessments and training employees to use the solution are much less than commonly believed. – Marc LadinThe Importance of HIPAA Compliance: 7 Things You Should Know

This Process Street template pack provides ten checklists that have been designed for the sole purpose of helping your institution maintain compliance with HIPAA policies and procedures.

By integrating these checklists into your HIPAA management efforts, you will increase accountability, transparency, and provide your team with the tools they need to execute important workflows.

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The All-You-Need Checklist Bundle for Homeowners Association Management (8 Free HOA Checklists)

homeowners-association-management

Homeowner associations (HOAs), also commonly referred to as community associations or residents associations, are on the rise in the US.

A 2019 study found that nearly 60% of recently built single-family houses, and 80% of houses in new subdivisions, are part of an HOA.

If we were to break that down by region, HOAs govern about 33% of homes in the Northeast, about 50% of homes in the Midwest, and at least 75% of homes in the West and the South.

All in all, there are now almost 310,000 HOA-governed communities in the United States, which is a staggering 260% growth since their inception in the 1970s.

Needless to say, it’s likely that you will encounter an HOA property while house-hunting, and if you are on the other side (an HOA community member) it’s important that you and the other members manage the association well to keep the community happy and attract new residents who could easily choose an alternative.

This post aims to provide you with the tools you need to manage an HOA that stands out and establish a community that not only feels confident in the leadership team, but also provides the space for members to contribute in a way that benefits the collective.

We will be covering:

Here is a preview of the free homeowner’s association management checklists that we’re offering in this post:

Let’s get started!
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6 Checklists for Meticulous Evaluation of FSSC 22000 Compliance

fssc-22000-checklists

Taking the appropriate measures to ensure products we come into close contact with are clean & safe is now more important than ever, and there is nothing we come into closer contact with than food.

If you are in the food manufacturing, farming, processing, packaging, catering, or another food-related industry, a robust, well-documented Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is essential to maintaining a strong position in the market.

Of course, strict regulations that make sure the food we ingest is safe is nothing new. In the US, food safety regulations have been developed since the mid-1800s.

However, It was the worldwide implementation of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system in the early 90s that really kicked things off on a global scale. Since then, numerous kinds of schemes and certifications have been developed to monitor the industry more closely.

FSSC 22000 (and the resulting FSSC 22000 checklists) is one of the newest and most highly-respected of such schemes.

The FSSC 22000 system was designed to provide companies in the food industry with an ISO-based food safety management system certification that is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Recognition by GFSI provides worldwide recognition and acceptance by food manufacturers and retailers.

“GFSI recognition demonstrates that the Scheme meets the highest standards globally leading to international food industry acceptance. Furthermore the Scheme is widely accepted by Accreditation Bodies worldwide and supported by important stakeholders like FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) and the Consumer Brands Association (CBA).” –  FSSC 22000 Scheme

Also, the fact that the scheme is ISO-based means that it integrates nicely with other management systems such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

In other words, FSSC 22000 certification is not only an internationally-recognized scheme that helps you improve market reach, food safety processes, and works great with ISO standards, but is also a powerful marketing tool.

“Statistics show that approximately 1 out of 4 certified companies are asking their suppliers to achieve certification. Chances are that if you have not been asked yet, you will be asked in the near future. Becoming certified can help you stay competitive and qualified towork with your current customers as well as to gain access to new ones.” – FSSC 22000 Quick Start Guide

In this post, Process Street is releasing a set of 6 FSSC 22000 checklist templates that will enable you to conduct meticulous internal audits and have an actionable, clear picture of everything that needs to be done in order to gain certification.

Click the links below to go to that section of the article:

If you’re just here for the checklists, here’s a taster of the free ones you’ll be getting!

Before we dive into the checklists proper, however, let’s take a quick look at a basic overview of what the steps are to gaining certification, and clarify where the checklists we have created fit into the process.
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8 ITIL Processes for First-Class IT Service Management

itil-processes

Data-driven.

This short statement could be used to accurately summarize the way big business wants to function in today’s world.

Its all about data; gathering it, processing it, analyzing it, and then leveraging insights to continuously improve business operations and customer experiences.

And yet, despite its importance, many companies are failing to do it very well.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework that enables organizations (mostly enterprises and government agencies) to efficiently perform this process of leveraging data.

Of course, this is a very simple, reductionist way of putting it. The framework is incredibly complicated and how exactly it delivers such a powerful service is not easily understood.

Here is a more comprehensive definition:

“ITIL, or Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a well-known set of IT best practices designed to assist businesses in aligning their IT services with customer and business needs. Services include IT related assets, accessibility, and resources that deliver value and benefits to customers. ITIL framework objectives include the delivery of valuable service offerings, as well as meeting customer needs, and achieving business goals of a given organization. Despite the individuality of each organization, ITIL provides guidelines for achieving these objectives and measuring success with KPIs.” – Jarod Greene, The Essential Guide to ITIL Framework and Processes

Thankfully, this vast framework can be simplified and broken down into 5 core stages, illustrated in the graphic below.

itil-framework

These categories make up the ITIL Service Lifecycle, which we here at Process Street have written an extensive post about:

I highly recommend reading this article if you would like to learn more about what exactly the ITIL service lifecycle is, how each stage relates to one another, and for valuable information on how you can apply ITIL to your business.

The article you are reading could be considered a follow up to the post linked above, as it provides you with 8 free ITIL processes in the form of practical checklists that you can integrate into your business right away.

Each of the 5 stages contains a certain number of standardized processes and functions. Processes make up the majority and are the focus of this post.

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17 Service Level Agreement Examples to Track Your Service Management Metrics

service level agreement

In today’s business environment where managed services are constantly being outsourced, creating a concise, official document outlining the terms of an agreement between the client and service provider is critical to setting the foundations for a trustworthy and ultimately fruitful relationship.

“Service-level agreements, amongst other things, bolster trust in and between organizations – making it clear what needs to be done, to what standard, and when.”Adam Henshall, What is an SLA? How to Use Service-Level Agreements for Success

It’s simply an essential component that requires care and attention.

As you may well have already noticed and perhaps even put to good use, Process Street has been creating some excellent content for those of you looking to create first-class service level agreement’s in quick and easy fashion.

For a comprehensive introduction into what an SLA is, exactly what one consists of and why you need them, have a read through the following article:

If you are already familiar with the fundamentals of SLAs and are looking for guidance on how to create and edit one for your organization, you’ll find this post useful:

Bear in mind that the article referenced above also contains a free, easy-to-use Process Street template from which you can create as many service level agreements as you like.

And that’s what this post is all about – providing free, easy-to-use examples in the form of practical templates.

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9 Checklists to Help Hospitals Deliver and Optimize Superb Patient Experiences

hospital-checklists

Checklists are becoming an increasingly important focus area for hospitals and other institutions in the medical field when it comes to treating patients more effectively, providing a safe and secure environment for recovery, and improving the overall patient experience.

Why?

Because numerous studies have proven that they work, and in an industry where human error can literally cause the death of a patient, it is absolutely critical for medical professionals to execute processes properly, in a timely fashion, and without missing a single step.

While you may initially think that hospital checklists would be a hindrance in a profession that requires fast, effective action, this is simply not the case if checklists are integrated and used properly.

There is no published data to date indicating that checklists may have contributed to adverse events, such as imposing a burden on the primary care providers, delays in treatment because of lengthy checklists, or errors of omission. Rather, they are largely considered important tools to condense large quantities of knowledge in a concise fashion, reduce the frequency of errors of omission, create reliable and reproducible evaluations and improve quality standards and use of best practices. – International Journal for Quality in Health Care

If you have been a long-time user of Process Street, you may well be aware of our admiration for the work of Atul Gawande, MD, author of The Checklist Manifesto published in 2009.

This book is what really kickstarted the adoption of checklists in healthcare, most notably, the World Health Organization (WHO) surgical safety checklist which WHO developed in conjunction with Dr. Gawande, supported by the compelling insight he provided in his book.

In the Keystone Initiative’s first eighteen months, the hospitals saved an estimated $175,000,000 in costs and more than 1,500 lives. The successes have been sustained for almost four years—all because of a stupid little checklist.Atul Gawande, The Checklist

The checklist is currently supported by hundreds of organizations around the world.

If you are interested in reading more about Dr Gawande and his book, I have provided links to a number of resources at the end of the article.

Among 8 other free checklists we are about to present, we have adapted the WHO surgical safety checklist to fit the format of our software, so you can keep a digital footprint and ensure each and every surgery has been performed as it should be.

The other 8 checklists cover a range of important healthcare processes including cleaning a patient room, conducting a safety inspection, ensuring compliance with HIPAA regulations, and more.

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The 11 Efficiency Killers in Your Workplace That You Should Know About

efficiency-killers

The following is a guest post by Eric Lawton. Eric has been part of the Human Resources sector for most of his career. During this period, he has learnt how to create and tweak hiring strategies to choose specific industries and companies. These days, he prefers to share his experience and knowledge with other people in the business.

The main goal of any workplace is to be as efficient as possible. The more efficient employees are, the more productive they become. This, in the end, leads to greater profits.

Therefore, it stands to reason that you should eliminate any obstacles hindering this process. If you feel that this is easier said than done, though, you are not alone. Most employers have a tough time identifying what the real productivity killers are.

Fortunately, there is quite a lot of research conducted on this topic. As a result, this article contains the relevant statistics and details you need to be aware of. This will make it a lot easier for you to make some real changes in your own workplace.

So, without further ado, here are the efficiency destroyers that you must watch out for:

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Business Trip Security: What are the Risks for Traveling Employees?

business-trip-security

The following is a guest post by Alex Mitchell, a cybersecurity enthusiast, WordPress guru, and data-safety tools tester with over 10 years experience.

Everybody knows the phrase, ‘Big Brother is watching.’

What often goes unsaid, though, is that Big Brother can be anyone, including the amateur hacker who happens to be staying at the same hotel as you.

That amateur hacker can’t watch if he can’t see. He knows this, of course, and he has ways of tricking you into letting him see.

Not only this, but all hackers know that a traveling employee most likely has access to sensitive company information on their laptop. These individuals make the best targets because there is more to gain from them.

In this Process Street article, we’ll take a look at risks such as these (and more) that are faced by traveling employees and how to remedy them. In particular, we’ll cover:

  • Defense against hackers
  • Safety while using public hotspots
  • Password security
  • Data protection during border checks

Let’s get into it

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5 Checklists to Help Life Coaches Transform Their Clients

life-coaches

Sometimes we all need a helping hand, whether it be choosing a meal at a restaurant or figuring out how to achieve our career ambitions.

When it comes to life itself, well, most of us are never really sure if we are on the right track, especially in today’s world where opportunities are endless and everything is moving at breakneck speed.

It can all feel rather overwhelming.

An increasingly popular method of addressing the general hardships of life is to work with a life coach – somebody tasked with helping you identify your goals and developing an actionable plan to achieve them.

In short, life coaches are there to help you address the big issues and challenges that life presents, so you can move forward with your head held high.

On the other hand, by taking on the role of a life coach, you must possess the qualifications, skill, and expertise to effectively encourage your clients to clarify their ambitions and provide them with the tools they need to pursue them.

We’ve gone ahead and created 5 checklists designed to empower life coaches and their clients so that both parties get the most out of the coaching process.

3 of the checklists are modeled after processes created by a handful of world-renowned life coaches – Brian Tracy, Lisa A. Romano, and Tony Robbins. The remaining two are more general checklists that can be used in almost any context.

If you want to dive in and go straight to the checklists, there are quick links right below. Otherwise, scroll down for a brief intro to each one.

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How Having A To-Do List Can Potentially Sabotage Your Productivity (And Ways To Do It Right)

to-do-list-tips

The following is a guest post by Jay Lieu who runs Great Big Minds. In his blog, he shares life-changing inspirational content with the world. He lives to empower, inspire and motivate others to live life great and go after their passion. You can connect and learn more about him here.

We live in a hyper-connected digital world that glorifies multitasking – it’s the only way to get everything done when there are so many things to tick off our seemingly endless to-do-list. Keeping ourselves busy means we are being productive, right?

In many cases, the answer is a big, fat no.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but keeping a to-do-list and focusing your sole effort in knocking as many items off that list can actually hold yourself back from achieving your bigger, more meaningful goals.

How so?

Let’s dig a little bit deeper, and provide you with some to-do list tips that will get you on the right track.

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