IT Consulting in Los Angeles: Optimal Practices to Prevent HIPAA violations

IT Consulting in Los Angeles: Optimal Practices to Prevent HIPAA violations

Organizations and professionals that violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) face considerable punishment. Violations can spur fines, the loss of business and damage to the company's brand. Below, an IT consulting team in Los Angeles takes a look what can be done to prevent HIPAA violations:

How HIPAA Penalties are Determined

The penalties for failing to comply with HIPAA rules hinge on the degree of negligence (the lack of care). It is even possible for criminal charges that lead to a jail sentence. It is clear that maintaining full compliance is essential to your business as well as your personal future. When penalties are applied, one of the primary things to consider is if steps were taken to prevent non-compliance.

Ensure Compliance With the Proper Disposal Methods

It is not easy to destroy information in this digital era. Information pertaining to patient health must be shredded or fully erased so it can't be accessed. If patient information is stored on an old thumb drive or hard drive, it must be physically damaged to the point that it is impossible to retrieve data. Furthermore, such data stored on smartphones and other mobile computing devices must be wiped prior to being released.

Train Your Team

Be proactive by training your team about compliance. Make it clear to them that adhering to HIPAA is a company-wide responsibility. Make sure every employee who accesses data fully understands what is necessary to maintain compliance. If these employees use HIPAA security software, they should be trained on how to properly use it. If you do not have the manpower or specialists necessary to provide such training, do not hesitate to lean on an IT consulting team in Los Angeles.

Key in on Mobile Device Management

One of the top causes of HIPAA violations is the failure to store and handle protected health information on mobile computing devices. This is true for devices employees bring from home and use for work purposes, as well as those that are enterprise-issued. Covered entities must keep mobile devices with patient health information fully secure. Make use of password protection and encryption. Otherwise, unencrypted data that reaches the wrong hands can wreak havoc.

Protect Against Third-Party Disclosure

The improper disclosure of information pertaining to patient health to anyone ranging from a colleague to a contractor or another entity is a violation of HIPAA rules. Some of the most egregious HIPAA violations have involved such third-parties. Make sure all third-parties you do business with are fully HIPAA-compliant. They must have adequate protections against the improper disclosure of patient health information.

There is no Excuse for a Violation

Once you have a full understanding of HIPAA rules, you will know exactly how to ensure all of your storage methods are HIPAA-compliant. This is true of data stored on computer hard drives as well as networks, disks, and digital memory. At the very least, your organization should make use of protections like anti-virus software, a deep packet firewall, patch management and encryption.

If you are interested in learning more about how to prevent HIPAA violations,contact our IT consulting team in Los Angeles at DCG Technical Solutions. We provide digital security solutions, managed services, proactive monitoring and more.