There’s one thing that will cause your company’s doors to close faster than anything else. The answer is HIPAA. All it takes is one client’s information getting out to hurt your business.
You would think it would be easy to avoid confidential info getting into the hands of those outside your company, but accidents happen. If a hacker gets into your company’s data files, it’s all over.
Want to learn how to be HIPAA compliant and avoid disaster? We can tell you what to do. Check out this guide to learn how to keep your data in your office where it belongs.
Think About Your Copier
Most business owners don’t think about little office appliances like the copier until it’s too late. If everyone in your office shares the same copier, you can throw being HIPAA compliant out the window.
The people in your human resources department will be handling most of your client’s information. They should have their own copier.
If that’s not within your budget, you should at least watch what you leave on the glass. Retrieve all your paperwork once you’re finished copying it.
Another thing you’ve got to consider is the copier’s hard drive. Everything you’ve ever copied exists within that hard drive in some shape or form. That’s why if you’re leasing the copier, it’s a good idea to ask the company what they do with its hardware once you’re finished with it.
Watch Your Fax Machine
Your copier isn’t the only office appliance that you need to pay careful attention to. Your fax machine can get you in trouble too if you’re not careful.
If you and your employees share the same fax machine, keep an eye on it. Some of the things that come through might not be safe for them to see.
Before you send out a fax, be sure that it’s going to the right place. The documents should go to the person who’s meant to see it and only the person who’s meant to see it.
Open Another Phone Line
You should not be using your personal mobile device when making work-related phone calls and sending texts. For one, it’s too easy for a mobile device to get lost.
If the person who retrieves the phone can unlock it, they’ll gain access to everything. Mobile devices are also vulnerable to hackers. Open a business second line.
You can get a phone that’s made with the benefits of being HIPAA compliant in mind. They come with a secure phone line and HIPAA-safe texting.
You can download an app that will encrypt messages that contain sensitive information
You never know when a natural disaster is going to blow through your area. If your office building floods, there goes all your client’s personal documents.
You can keep them in a safe, but that’s only going to do so much. That’s why it’s important to back up everything. You can do this using an external hard drive or Cloud technology.
Increase Employee Awareness
Keeping up with your HIPAA compliance checklist begins with your employees. You’ve got to train them on the proper safety protocols.
They won’t know the right way to handle sensitive data unless you show them. You need to devote at least one training session to it. Once a year, test your workers to make sure they remember what they learned.
Private Document Transportation
Every once in a while, you might have to send papers off to a client physically. You’ll either hand it to one of your employees and have them deliver it or rely on a courier.
Don’t hand off the document without also giving the person doing the delivery a confirmation document. The client will sign it confirming that they received the paper. Sort of like when you sign off on a package that comes through the USPS.
Shred Your Documents
When a piece of information becomes irrelevant, don’t throw it in the garbage! It could still contain sensitive data that could force you to face the consequences of not being HIPAA compliant.
Send everything through your shredder. Someone who is very dedicated might be able to piece the shredded remains back together and make something out of them, but it’s not likely.
Never Leave Private Information Unsupervised
You’re working on your computer in a cafe when your name is called. You get up and grab your coffee and sit back down. Do you know what you did wrong?
You left your computer alone. During that time, anyone could have leaned over to see what you were working on. You can’t leave private information unsupervised for even a second.
It doesn’t matter if your computer is in a locked car. Someone could bust open your windows to get your laptop. Sensitive information also includes passwords.
If you need to write your passwords down, that’s fine, but don’t leave them out on your desk. Anyone who sees them can memorize them and use them for malicious purposes.
How to Be HIPAA Compliant and Keep Your Doors Open
Not knowing how to be HIPAA compliant has caused many companies to close their doors. There’s no greater offense than allowing someone’s sensitive information to fall into the wrong hands.
For many companies, it happens unintentionally. A data breach caused them to violate HIPAA. That’s why you’ve got to use this guide to be prepared for any problem that comes your way.
For more tips that will help you keep your company going, visit the Business section of our blog.