What is a HIPAA violation?

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2019 | Firm News |

Consumers are more concerned about their data and personal information than ever. Whether it’s a credit card security breach at their favorite store or concerns over social media platforms abusing user data, personal information is more valued than ever.

This is especially true for patients’ medical data. Medical data is among the most private and personal information a person has. Your patients not only trust their lives in your hands, but also their private medical history.

How health care providers get in trouble

Health care providers can find themselves in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in many ways. A few ways providers fall from compliance with HIPAA include:

  • Improperly sharing patient information.
  • Incorrectly storing or handling patient medical records.
  • Lost or stolen devices that contain patient records.

Consequences for failed compliance

While a violation is a violation, they’re not all treated equally. You see in the list above that some include violations can be unintentional while others are more deliberate and carry stiffer penalties. Because penalties are tiered based on the context of the violation, you may face thousands — if not millions — of dollars in fines and even jail time.

Staying in the clear

The best way to protect your practice from HIPAA violations and any related penalties is being proactive. That means educating your employees on the importance of compliance and the consequences for violations.

Preventing violations may be as simple as carefully storing and protecting patient records, never sharing patient information on their personal devices, and ensuring only authorized personnel have access to this information.

Someone who is facing the consequences of a HIPAA violation may need a good strategy to navigate the situation and learn what they can do to prevent future violations.