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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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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