Achieving HIPAA Compliance is primordial in running your dental website. Therefore, it is no surprise that, in the course of your business’s lifetime, countless agencies and “compliance experts” will contact you or any other competitor in your industry to offer compliance services.
The compliance process can feel confusing and time-consuming; therefore, most entrepreneurs and company managers will choose to delegate these tasks to experts. Furthermore, compliance can require knowledge of the field’s jargon and practices, without which you might struggle to get ahead.
No matter how challenging compliance can seem, it is a necessary step for your website. Therefore, you may want to look into hiring the necessary counsel. However, there’s no reason to fall prey to “compliance experts” arguing that you can only save your business through hiring them immediately. Achieving HIPAA compliance requires knowing your rights, responsibilities, and all your options to achieve it.
Knowing What You Face
HIPAA was voted into law to limit healthcare fraud cases Americans were falling victim to and protect their private data. The storing, exchange, and circulation of this data can be used against members of the public by allowing AI to ascertain undisclosed information about system users. To curb the new threats to privacy AI has engendered, data collecting regulations had to be established. The sanction for violating compliance requirements is generally a fine.
Fines for not achieving HIPAA compliance can be daunting. HIPAA breaches can sometimes occur involuntarily, but the penalties are the same regardless of the “intent” to violate the act.
However, while HIPAA was passed in 1996, no dentist was fined for non-compliance until 2015. The Indiana dentist who broke precedence was fined $12,000 for “mishandling records containing sensitive information.”
The vast majority of HIPAA complaints, nevertheless, do not end in fines. Out of the 185,000 HIPAA complaints filed by patients and affected parties, only 55 have led to fines, the vast majority of which were on large corporations involved in medical research.
Considering The Risks
While fines are incredibly rare for dentists, investigations for HIPAA violations are still a non-compliance risk to consider. These investigations can have a negative impact on your business and put you under the pressure of managing intimidating legal scrutiny.
The past investigations have ultimately not led to fines, and none resulted from a patient’s complaint about a violation of their privacy. However, this creates the need for further precedence, and regulatory boards could begin to demand a more thorough pursuit of businesses violating the act. Therefore, the rarity of HIPAA violation fines should not deter you from investing the necessary time or money in achieving compliance.
Weighing The Necessity Of Compliance
It is crucial to take your users’ privacy seriously. The protection of personal data speaks to your business’s ethics. The loss of trust that can result from a non-compliance investigation can permanently damage your business.
On the other hand, it is also necessary to note that you are more likely to undergo a HIPAA compliance investigation for losing information physically stored in your office than for the data stored on your website. Therefore, website compliance cannot be your only security against violating HIPAA; it must be an add-on to hands-on protective measures, like ensuring the safety of your hardware and relevant files.
Easy Steps To HIPAA Compliance
Achieving full compliance can be a gradual process. However, there are steps you can take to show goodwill in protecting your users’ data, and ensuring they do not feel violated in having it stored by the website they’re using. For instance, you can create pop-up authorization forms that inform the user that their data is about to be collected. When sharing patient testimonials on your site, you should also ensure you have a signed release form attesting to their consent in you sharing their information. Contact pages should also use secure messaging and SSL certificates.
Making The Right Decision For Your Business
HIPAA compliance is ultimately the responsibility of a company’s CxO suite. Regardless of the size of your business, the responsibility will ultimately be yours, the person in charge of making final decisions, to ensure you meet compliance requirements. Non-adherence to regulations could lead to some hefty fines and even put you out of business. Therefore, if you’re thinking of delaying your hiring of a compliance expert, you should nevertheless invest in small changes that can go a long way in protecting your website users’ privacy.