Every day we work with Practice Administrators (PAs) to help them with HIPAA compliance. It is amazing how much responsibility is placed on a PA’s plate. They are involved with hiring and firing of employees, billing, scheduling, personnel issues, insurance issues, patient issues, equipment issues, technology issues, provider issues and compliance issues. It is amazing how they juggle all these responsibilities.
So when it comes to worrying about HIPAA compliance I can understand why many PAs roll their eyes and prefer not to even discuss it. Adding another project to their plate is the last thing that a PA needs. The other issue we see is that when we talk to PAs about HIPAA security, they admit that they don’t really understand the requirements. They have a good grasp of the HIPAA Privacy rule and most have addressed privacy requirements but when it comes to security they are at a loss. The HIPAA Security Rule is very technical and it involves a lot of network and computer security details which a PA might not have a good understanding about.
Our first challenge with PAs is to raise their awareness of the HIPAA Security Rule requirements. It is our job to make them understand the issues around protecting patient data. We need to raise their awareness in simple easy to understand terms and methods. Network security can be overwhelming so it is very important to translate complex technical issues into easy to understand actionable items. HIPAA Secure Now! provides easy to understand summaries, entertaining and educational videos, online meetings and conference calls, that have the ability to raise a PA’s awareness in a short amount of time.
Once a PA understands the issues and details around securing patient data we see a true transformation. The PA no longer rolls their eyes and looks at HIPAA security as another project but rather they see patient data as a liability that needs to be protected. They are usually eager to complete the Risk Assessment and get a better understanding of how they are protecting data and what additional security measures should be implemented. PAs are all about identifying problems and seeking resolutions.
Working with PAs has helped us understand the issues that they face every day. They face real time constraints. They are involved in every detail of a medical practice. They are concerned with patient privacy and security but it is another project on an ever growing list of projects. Having this insight into medical practices and PAs has allowed us to shape our service to provide the most value. We developed the HIPAA Jump-Start program that minimizes the amount of time a PA needs to spend on HIPAA security and gets an organization moving towards HIPAA compliance in a very short period of time. As we continue to work with PAs, we will continue to refine our process so it provides the best solution and value to both medical practices and PAs.