IT Services in Anaheim CA

Ever since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) law came into existence, medical practices and other healthcare providers and services have been trying to comply with these new and complex privacy rules. One particularly challenging area that demands extra attention in trying to meet HIPAA compliance is business technology and IT services.

In 2017, while healthcare businesses are still working to find the best ways to use technology while staying in compliance, many could face audits with the progression of the audit program. One of the main focuses of these audits is the use of technology.

OCR Audit Program In Full Swing for 2017

Audits conducted to determine compliance with HIPAA laws are performed by the Office for Civil Rights, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The audit program has been in development since 2011 and began to test this system in 2016. In 2017, it is said that regular audits will begin.

All medical practices and healthcare businesses required to be in HIPAA compliance could see an audit at any time in order to gauge their level of compliance and provide guidance on how to correct any compliance issues.

OCR Audits Focus on Technology

While there are many topics and rules pertaining to the protection of people’s personal health information (PHI), some are much easier to comply with than others. Considering this, one of the main areas these audits may examine is business use of IT services and whether the services used by a business offer required HIPAA compliance. The use of technology, both within the healthcare office and outside of it, presents major concerns in how PHI is handled and who has access to it.

Audits will be focusing on the systems that healthcare businesses have in place for managing their PHI as well as the various ways in which they use technology. The main goal of these audits is to uncover areas of noncompliance that may not be as visible to the business itself. Whether or not penalties will be levied for any infractions found is uncertain, this will likely depend on the severity of the infraction and how many infractions are found.

Who Could Be Audited?

The initial round of audits in 2016 were performed solely on "covered entities." This included medical offices and other healthcare services and businesses that fell under HIPAA. The audits that have begun in 2017 are being conducted on covered entities and business associates. According to HIPAA, a business associate is any third party entity with access to PHI that must also be in compliance as a result.

These entities include billing services, accountants, attorneys, temporary agencies and the staff they provide as well as technology companies. As such, this is especially important for managed service providers who have clients requiring compliance. Infractions found with these companies could also lead to penalties if PHI is not being protected with the proper IT services.

HIPAA compliance is becoming a bigger concern for healthcare providers and businesses every day as well as the MSPs that provide IT services. As audits of covered entities and their business associates begin in 2017, it is essential that medical and healthcare businesses work with a managed services provider that understands HIPAA law and can offer truly compliant and secure services!

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