As you would expect, healthcare businesses are subject to some stringent regulations. Businesses that fail to adhere to all the applicable guidelines risk incurring serious fines, or even having their licenses revoked. If you are planning on entering or re-entering the healthcare profession in response to the current coronavirus pandemic, you need to make sure that you are aware of all the applicable regulations you have to comply with.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is the cornerstone of healthcare regulations in the USA and is the most important piece of legislation for healthcare workers to know about. While it was initially enacted in order to protect worker’s insurance coverage when they changed jobs, it is now mostly associated with the protection of patient privacy and healthcare data.
Any business that handles healthcare data needs to ensure that they remain compliant with HIPAA regulations. This is especially important if you plan on storing or processing data covered by HIPAA in the cloud. It is essential that you perform due diligence and ensure that any service or business that you share your data with is HIPAA-compliant.
For example, Central Data Storage provides HIPAA compliant data backup and recovery solutions and services, as well as a recently launched encrypted messaging solution. They work with a full range of healthcare businesses including dental, veterinarian, plastic surgeons and optometrists to ensure their patients’ and business data can be recovered in a matter of hours when disaster strikes. The potential ramifications of breaching HIPAA are severe, so it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the act and exactly what it entails and engage with a proven cloud service provider you can trust with your HIPAA protected data.
The HITECH Act
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act became law in February of 2009. The act mandates periodic audits of healthcare providers to ensure that they are remaining compliant with HIPAA and that patient privacy is being respected. Because of this, the act is widely regarded as giving teeth to HIPAA regulations by ensuring that businesses are regularly scrutinized for compliance.
Healthcare data isn’t like financial data, which can be changed by the subject. For example, if a data breach reveals your bank or credit card details then you can change these in order to avoid potential fraud. The same ability doesn’t exist with regards to healthcare data – once a breach has occurred, your data is exposed forever.
Patients must promptly be notified of any data breaches that affect them – the penalties for failing to do so are suitably severe.
Chain Of Custody
Chain of custody regulations lay out the paper trail that healthcare businesses are obligated to create to record the collection, transfer and analysis of tests and test results. The Chain of Custody regulations applies to both physical and electronic data relating to human specimen tests. A CCF (chain of custody form) is regarded as a legal document – if there is any sign of specimen tampering then the form can be invalidated.
There are a whole host of healthcare regulations that businesses need to be aware of. It is also important to keep your ear to the ground with regards to coronavirus-related regulations, as these are liable to change as the situation evolves.