As 2023 unfolds, the urgency for entities in the healthcare sector to initiate or reinforce their HIPAA compliance cannot be overstated. This isn’t just about ticking off a checklist; it’s about safeguarding the future of your organization, whether you’re a medical practice, a health insurance agent, a self-funded employer, or a business associate in the healthcare realm.
1. Prove Your Due Diligence
The decision to postpone setting up comprehensive policies, procedures, and HIPAA training could be detrimental. Particularly for entities established or becoming self-funded in 2023, immediate action is crucial. The delay not only exposes you to legal and security risks but could also hamper your operational integrity, not to mention that it doesn’t look very good from an auditor’s perspective.
2. Asynchronous Holiday Schedules
Utilizing the relative downtime during holidays to undertake network upgrades and HIPAA training is a strategic move. Assigning tasks that can be done from anywhere and in small increments such as filling out a risk assessment, reviewing document drafts gives your team some clear wins to end the year on a positive note. It also ensures that you step into the new year with a robust culture of compliance, seamlessly aligning your operations with the necessary legal frameworks.
3. Use the Safe Harbor Provision to Your Advantage
The Safe Harbor update, reflecting the changes from HR 7898 implemented in 2017, acknowledges the cybersecurity measures undertaken by covered entities. This shift allows for a more practical approach to HIPAA compliance, emphasizing real security measures over just saying you’re following the rules. .
4. Improve an Auditor’s First Impression
Auditors are looking for a history of compliance, and will note the timeline of your compliance efforts. An entity that experienced a data incident in 2023 but only engaged with HIPAA compliance services like Total HIPAA in early 2024 might be viewed differently than one proactively joining in December 2023. This first impression can be pivotal in an audit scenario.
5. Aligning with the Calendar Year
By initiating your compliance process before the year’s end, you ensure that your annual risk assessments and training align with the calendar year, eliminating any potential gaps in compliance. This strategy ensures that your entity is viewed as continuously compliant throughout the year.
6. Early Bird Gets the Worm
The earlier you begin your HIPAA compliance journey, the better positioned you are. It’s about building and maintaining a history of robust security practices, demonstrating not just compliance but a commitment to protecting sensitive health information. As new requirements and security threats come out, you will be better positioned to adapt.
In conclusion, 2023 is not just another year; it’s a critical juncture for your organization to align with HIPAA standards. By starting now, you’re not just complying with a regulation, you’re fortifying your entity against risks and setting a standard of excellence in the handling of sensitive health information.
Our service, HIPAA Prime, offers a structured path towards compliance, including crucial steps like a Risk Assessment and subsequent reviews. This process not only enhances your cybersecurity but also stands as evidence of your commitment to HIPAA compliance. It’s about building a concrete history of diligent, proactive measures. To get your HIPAA journey started today, book a quick call to see if we are a fit for your organization.