Creating and enforcing proper disclosure policies

Medical practitioners need to make sure that authorization procedures are in place that comply with HIPAA.

Your medical practice or organization might not have the right kind of attitude when it comes to enforcing HIPAA standards. This is where HIPAA compliance software can come into play, and one of the checks that you can put into use can be a system that makes it easier for the right entities to be authorized for records access.

HealthITSecurity recently reported on this aspect of proper HIPAA best practices and the specifics that apply to requesting authorization. The article notes one of the fundamental principles of authorization: any request must be clear and specific, and organizations need to be honest about activity that might be sponsored by somebody else. Although some lower-level tasks might not need the same level of authorization, it's still important that your business pay attention to the proper means of keeping compliant.

By seeking guidance and taking initiative on improving the way authorization is granted, your medical organization might be able to stem breaches or unlawful access. In a recent report to the government from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, that group laid out the definition of what constitutes a breach of Personal Health Information (or PHI).

"Under the Breach Notification Rule, an unauthorized acquisition, access, use, or disclosure of PHI…is presumed to be a breach unless the covered or business associate, as applicable, demonstrates that there is a low probability that the PHI has been compromised based on a risk assessment," the report reads. It also lists some elements that must apply when an assessment is performed.

Authorization guidelines and constant reminders of proper practices are just one form of breach prevention, but it can be the start of a more sustained effort to make improvements.

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