Five Best Practices to Ensure HIPAA Compliance with your Business Associates
As a medical provider, you must ensure that your business associates are HIPAA compliant. After all, your practice must protect the privacy and security of your patient’s protected health information (PHI).
Business associates perform functions that involve using or disclosing Protected Health Information (PHI). If they do not comply with HIPAA, eventually, it can put your patients’ PHI at risk and expose your practice to legal and financial penalties.
Some risks that your practice may face if your business associates are not HIPAA-compliant include:
- Patient privacy breaches.
- Loss of trust and reputation.
- Legal and financial penalties.
- Business interruption.
- Non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
Therefore, here are five best practices you can follow to ensure your business associates are HIPAA-compliant:
1. Conduct a risk assessment
First, identify which business associates can access PHI. Then, conduct a risk assessment to determine the potential risks and vulnerabilities associated with their use and disclosure of PHI. This will help you identify areas where HIPAA compliance may be lacking.
2. Review your business associate agreements
Ensure you have a valid business associate agreement with each business associate. They must make sure they are following HIPAA guidelines. Also, your business should review the arrangements to ensure they are comprehensive and include all necessary HIPAA requirements regarding compliance, security measures, and breach notification procedures.
3. Analyze your business associates to determine their HIPAA policies
Request that your business associates provide you with evidence of their HIPAA compliance, such as a copy of their HIPAA policies and procedures, training materials, and documentation of their security protocols. Also, remember to ask them to update you on how they manage and safeguard your information.
4. Carry out periodic HIPAA audits
Regularly audit your business associates to ensure they adhere to HIPAA obligations. For example, conduct on-site visits, review their policies and procedures frequently, and test their security measures. Remember to obtain proof that your associates provide HIPAA training and education to their staff. This will help them understand their obligations and ensure they handle PHI securely.
5. Stay on top of HIPAA updates
Medical practices must stay updated with the constantly evolving healthcare industry news, including potential HIPAA policy changes. Above all, make sure you know these changes, if any, and understand how these can impact your practice. This will help you detect areas of improvement on your HIPAA safeguards and establish new ones if pertinent.
By following these best practices, you can ensure that your business associates comply with HIPAA and that your patients’ PHI is protected.
At AdvantEdge, we are HIPAA-compliant. We have controls and safeguards in place to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your PHI. Our employees are continually educated to be updated on HIPAA policy changes and avoid potential breaches.