HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was originally signed into law in 1996. This federal law required the creation of national standards that better protect sensitive patient health information and require the patient’s consent or knowledge prior to disclosure of this information.
As dental practices grow, they handle more and more sensitive patient health history information and payment information. Your practice needs to make sure it maintains HIPAA compliance because the fines and penalties that can be incurred by a data breach are significant, particularly if it is judged that your practice did try to protect sensitive data.
The larger your dental or other practice, the more likely you are to be targeted by cybercriminals looking for information, but the reality is that any practice can find themselves in this unfortunate situation. From the formation of your practice, you should do your utmost to ensure HIPAA compliance, starting with the selection of a compliance officer. This person will need to conduct ongoing risk assessments and risk analyses, develop the policies and procedures that will be followed by your practice, train new and existing employees about these measures, and create contingency plans for what will happen if and when a data breach occurs.
Even the most careful HIPAA compliance does not mean that you will never experience a data breach, but it will mean that you are doing everything you can to avoid this unfortunate scenario, and that you have a plan in place for what to do next if a breach occurs. If you want to work on improving your HIPAA compliance, contact us at Reliant Data Solutions today.