All posts in Document Management


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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File Naming Conventions: How to Optimize Document Management

file naming conventions

It’s all too common to find yourself wading through your organization’s shared folders in search of the file you’ve been asked to review:

  • PROJECT-PROPOSAL-NEW-v5.doc
  • Project_proposal_2020_final+edits.doc
  • THIS_is_the_final_proposal_(old-version).PDF

Why does this happen? Why can’t everyone just use proper file naming conventions? The reasons can be lack of proper internal policy or procedure for naming and organizing files, lack of any consideration for folder or information architecture, and just plain carelessness.

With a small amount of effort, you can establish proper file naming conventions and avoid this kind of document spaghetti. The more organized you can be with your internal information, the more efficient and effective you can be in your business goals.

Just imagine – seeing neat, intuitively named folders, knowing which folders contain the documents you’re looking for, and – take a seat – having confidence that the file you’re about to click on will be what you expect it to be.

In this Process Street article, we’ll cover:

  • File naming conventions: Best practices & tips
  • The Dewey Decimal file naming convention
  • Process standardization vs process harmonization
  • How we organize internal processes at Process Street
  • How to organize the perfect process library
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    Let’s go!
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    Free Meeting Minutes Template and Top Tips to Effectively Record Your Meeting Minutes

    Free Meeting Minutes Template and Top Tips to Effectively Record Your Meeting Minutes

    Following a pre-planned meeting agenda can decrease meeting time by 80%.

    Despite this, less than half (37%) of U.S. meetings follow a set agenda.

    Why, when the time savings of doing so are substantial? When time = money, it doesn’t take a genius to visualize the knock-on effects this has to an organization’s bottom-line.

    Using a Meeting Minutes Template will establish processes to clearly define and set the meeting agenda before the meeting has begun, saving you both time and money.

    In addition, a Meeting Minutes Template offers legal protection, provides meeting structure, documents state ownership, drives action, serves as a reference point, helps avoid repetition, and offers a platform for open communication.

    Sounds good right?

    So good that the content creation team here at Process Street give you this comprehensive guide, so you can effectively record meeting minutes in your business and line of work. You are provided with our free Meeting Minutes Template, to be used in conjunction with 3 more top meeting process templates.

    Click on the relevant subheader below to hop to that section. Alternatively, read all to discover our secrets for how you can become a pro meetings note taker 🤓.

    Let’s get stuck in!
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    18 Software Documentation Tools that Do The Hard Work For You

    2-Software Documentation

    🟢✅ Bonus material: Git Workflow Checklist to simplify & streamline version management

    Without documentation, software is just a black box. And black boxes aren’t anywhere near as useful as they could be because their inner workings are hidden from those who need them in the open.

    Software documentation turns your software into a glass box by explaining to users and developers how it operates or is used.

    You’ve probably seen documentation before, but if you need a refresher, here’s an example from Slack‘s API:

    Slack API Documentation-d

    As you can see, Slack explains everything about its API in excruciating detail. Any related pages are linked, there’s a sidebar with easy-to-access topics, and screenshots of what the user can expect to see.

    To explain software documentation in more detail, we will cover the following topics in this Process Street post:

    Let’s get started.

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    Operations Manual Templates: How to Create a Solid Operations Manual (Free Templates!)

    Operations Manual Templates

    In a past life, I interned at a fashion company. And at the tender age of 19, it was my first introduction to the working world.

    But my time there was largely spent in a state of bewilderment, wondering what tasks I should be focusing on, what the right processes for those tasks were, and what a successful end-result for those tasks would look like. (This company was part of the 22% that have no onboarding program.)

    And because the team was always out of the office – attending photoshoots, meeting brands and retailers, going for their 17th coffee of the day at over-priced (and mediocre) cafés in London’s East End – it meant I was often alone in the office, wondering what the hell to do.

    Unsurprisingly, the company went bust in 2019.

    If they’d have had an operations manual or some operations manual templates, however, I would’ve been able to complete a ton of work while they were focusing on other parts of the business. That’s because an operations manual contains information about the company, the company’s hierarchy, roles and responsibilities, business policies, and key facts regarding processes and procedures.

    Don’t let your business fall into the same trap as the now-defunct fashion company.

    Create, implement, and audit an operations manual.

    In this post, I’ll further define what an operations manual is and the benefits of having an operations manual. To boot, I’ll provide you with a host of nifty operations manual templates, and tell you how Process Street can aid you with your manual!

    Read the following sections to get clued up:

    Or, if you just wanted the templates, grab them here:

    In fact, here’s a sneak preview of the templates that you’ll be getting for free!

    Let’s get started, shall we?

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    What is an SOP? 16 Essential Steps to Writing Standard Operating Procedures (With Templates)

    The_16_Steps_to_Writing_Standard_Operating_Procedures

    🟢✅ Bonus material: SOP Structure Template to help you write perfect procedures

    Whether you’re starting a business or trying to improve an existing one, you have to understand how things are going to get done.

    What tasks do you need to do? Who needs to do them? What are the best ways to approach these tasks?

    Working out how these questions can be answered is the first step toward systemizing your business. The creation of processes and workflows will define the way in which your day to day activities function.

    One popular approach to this is the creation of standard operating procedures. The simple definition provided by IBM for standard operating procedures is:

    …a set of instructions that describes all the relevant steps and activities of a process or procedure.

    Simple.

    But how do we create these SOPs? What we need are standard operating procedures for creating standard operating procedures – and some standard operating procedure software. And that’s what we’re going to give you.

    We’ll look at:

    • How to create a set of standard operating procedures
    • Some advanced techniques for improving your SOPs
    • Why Process Street is a useful tool for both mapping and following your standard operating procedures

    Read through these sections to get clued up:

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    30+ Free SOP Templates to Make Recording Processes Quick and Painless

    Bonus Material: The Ultimate Guide to Business Process Automation

    Every SOP Template You'll Ever Need header

    Writing standard operating procedures is a cumbersome task but a serious requirement for businesses the world over.

    In many industries it is important to have documentation which shows you have been adhering to ISO guidelines. This can help you clinch major clients and demonstrate your professionalism.

    However, when you’re starting out with your first SOPs it can be difficult to know where to begin.

    That’s why we’ve pulled together a range of the best free SOP templates for you to work from.

    Simply go through the available SOPs below and pick out the one best suited to your needs. We’ve included Microsoft Word templates and Process Street ones too. You’ll also find a guide for writing SOPs to help you get started.

    Given that it can be intimidating writing standard operating procedures, we have provided a number of industry-specific examples plus suggestions for how you can pull together basic SOPs even if they’re not documented according to ISO standards.

    Read through the following sections to get completely clued up:

    Let’s dive in.

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    Ultimate SOP Guide: Standard Operating Procedures Made Easy (Free Templates!)

    sop templates

    SOPs (often pronounced S-O-P) are basically just another way to think about processes. Specifically, with a focus on formally defining the best way of doing something.

    In business terms, that means saving time and money by building a clear, concise set of instructions for all of your internal processes. Policies (or standards) are important too; SOPs are kind of like a hybrid of policy and procedure.

    Traditionally, SOPs were useful in principle, but often suffered from being difficult to maintain and crucially, hard to enforce. What good is an SOP if it lives its life sat on a dusty stack of paper forms? Your SOPs should be actionable, and that’s where BPM software like Process Street comes in.

    If you understand how to build, maintain, and optimize SOPs with software, you can supercharge your standard operating procedures.

    In this article, we want to give you everything you will ever need to know about SOPs, including:

    Each section will be as concise as possible, with links out to further reading wherever appropriate. Let’s start with the basics.
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    Simple SOP Format Guide: How to Write Standard Operating Procedures

    sop format

    One of the most important things you can offer your customers and employees is consistency.

    Your customers need consistency in your products and services, your employees need consistency to help them do their job efficiently, and your company needs consistency in order to continuously improve your policies and procedures.

    The best way to make sure that you have consistency within your company is by implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs).

    Most companies already have SOPs that their employees follow, but they’re either rarely updated, or they’re never even properly documented to begin with.

    This is often because writing, reviewing, and regularly updating your SOPs can typically take a lot of time, especially when starting from scratch.

    But thankfully, there are ways to make your job a lot easier.

    That’s why in this Process Street article, we’ll go over the general guidelines for the SOP format and other ways you can streamline your processes to help you get started building your SOPs.

    We’ll be covering:

    If you’re simply looking for a SOP format to get started with, then look no further!
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    Service Level Management: How to Manage SLAs and OLAs Masterfully

    Service Level Management

    When defining, documenting, and delivering services to customers, it can be a little difficult (read: incredibly taxing) to keep on top of everything.

    As Philipp Unterharnscheidt and Axel Kieninger at the Karlsruhe Service Research Institute both say:

    “IT services supporting business operations are an increasingly critical factor for business success today (Guldentops 2003). The management of service quality, which is the central objective of Service Level Management (SLM), however remains a major challenge for many companies.”Philipp Unterharnscheidt and Axel Kieninger, Service Level Management – Challenges and their Relevance from the Customers’ Point of View

    To help companies keep on top of things – and manage their services, service levels, and SLAs and OLAs masterfully – there’s service level management.

    This may be the point where you’re thinking “But what, exactly, is service level management? What are the benefits of it? The best practices so it’s done properly? And how would Process Street even help with service level management?”

    Worry no more, reader. You’ve come to the right place.

    Just read through these sections to get to grips with service level management:

    Let’s dive straight in. ⬇️

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