How much do you know about Hitech compliance?
Hitech stands for The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. It’s part of the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA) and is designed to protect the electronic health records and privacy of the medical data of patients.
It came into law in 2009, to help medical law keep up with the digital age.
If your business is in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, law, or insurance, then Hitech may apply to you. Laws and government regulations can change frequently, so there is always a lot to keep on top of.
Do you need help with understanding the Hitech Act? If so, keep reading for five useful tips to help you learn more, which you can use as a checklist for Hitech compliance.
1. Educate Your Employees About Hitech Compliance
Are you wondering how to become Hitech compliant as a company? It all comes down to staff training.
Your staff are the ones who will be working with patient records and data on a daily base,
Hitech compliance is a team effort, so hold regular training and educational sessions for staff so they understand how it works, what they need to do, and why it’s important.
Embracing HITECH means breaking old habits and embracing technology for new ways of doing things, which can sometimes be challenging for long-term staff. In particular, providers and companies need to use technology for tasks such as recording prescriptions, giving patients access to their online health records, and tracking public health data.
Make sure your company has a plan and implement it from the top down. Document everything in writing and make sure your staff have access to it at all times.
It may also be helpful to nominate one staff member as your Hitech expert so that other staff can go to them with any questions.
2. Understand the Consequences
Hitech compliance laws are serious, and your company can face big consequences if you are found in breach. Make sure you’re aware of all the penalties when it comes to Hitech, and make sure you have safeguards and plans in place to ensure your company isn’t penalized.
When it comes to fines, there are four different levels of violations, which grow increasingly in severity. The maximum fine can be up to $1.5 million dollars, enough to derail even a large company.
The penalties for willful neglect are higher than accidental errors.
Even if you aren’t aware that you’ve done something wrong, you can still be fined in one of the Hitech audits, so it’s essential that businesses take it seriously.
3. Take the Time to Read Through Hitech to M ake Sure You’re Compliant
You can’t be Hitech compliant if you don’t fully understand the act. We recommend reading it in full, then consulting with experts if you have any questions or concerns.
The act itself is divided into four parts, known as subtitles. Each part covers a different essential topic, all of which are important.
When reading through the act, take notes and highlight areas that are particularly relevant to your business. The act is complex, covering tasks such as health information security, improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare, privacy, and online storage of data.
4. Safeguard Patient Records
One of the key points of Hitech is securing patient records. Instead of seeing this as extra work for your business, think of it as a positive—your patients and customers will have peace of mind that their private health data is safe and secure.
This is a selling point for your customers, so it’s a good thing! Always try to highlight the benefits of Hitech, which include easy access to health records, increased security, and improved communication.
It also makes it easier for patients to engage with the business and keep track of their appointments and records, which will save them time. Medical records should always have been kept private and secure anyway, so Hitech gives them extra confidence that their personal data is protected.
5. Adjust Your Marketing Practices
You may be surprised to learn that your company’s marketing may need to be slightly altered due to Hitech. In simple terms, Hitch limits how and when you can communicate with customers without their prior authorization.
Also, if businesses have received payment for a product or service, they can no longer send out marketing communications related to that product. For example, a business can’t recommend a particular product to those on their mailing list and encourage them to purchase it, if they have received money from that company.
This is particularly relevant when it comes to prescription drugs, as the pharma industry has such strong ties with medical professionals.
The point is to limit communications and marketing received by customers, however, the rules can be complex. We recommend taking the time to fully understand the requirements and then review your marketing strategy to make sure it’s compliant.
Use The Tips to Make Sure Your Business Understands Hitech Compliance Rules
Hitech compliance is essential for any business working with patient data. As you can see, it’s an overarching and detailed act, which may take some time to understand.
We hope the tips above will improve your knowledge of Hitech, helping you look at your company critically and see where there’s room for improvement.
Once your company has mastered Hitech compliance, you’ll avoid large fines, keep your patients happy, and your business will run more effectively.
Get started today and embrace the Hitech Act.
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Amanda Byers is a graduate of Columbia, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Zobuz’s entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Buzz worthy.