Hipaa Audits

Written by Dina Kayed
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When new laws are introduced, officials are appointed to take on the responsibility of implementing them. They carry out inspections to assess compliance and to keep all parties up to date with the new regulations. This procedure was applied to HIPAA, the federal law concerning medical privacy. It is aimed at preventing medical fraud and abuse and endorses the patient's right to privacy. Periodical HIPAA security audits evaluate all aspects of performance in this regard.

HIPAA Security Inspections

Initially, an institution is required to undergo an internal inspection. Professional inspectors are sent to evaluate the situation on site. All documentation is taken into consideration, whether hard copy or in electrical format. Any documentation not consistent with HIPAA regulations is singled out, and recommendations are made to address these problems. Servers are all checked to make sure that no private information can be leaked due to online security gaps.

The second step is an external evaluation. Any parts of the computer system that transfer information from one institution to another, or to clients is inspected. New software is tested all the time to guard against online breaches of patient confidentiality. Since all documentation must now be electronic, many problems have arisen concerning the exposure of patient information through networks. To address this issue, strict rules concerning passwords and access to information were established.

Some institutions are only made aware of breaches in their systems in court, when they are faced with a lawsuit. HIPAA inspections can help institutions prevent such disasters by giving recommendations on incomplete implementation of HIPAA policies. Disaster planning not only helps institutions prepare for unexpected events; it can also help to prevent many as well.

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