Be educated and continually informed.
The first way to ensure staff members aren’t violating HIPAA is to educate and inform each employee on HIPAA regulations and when any changes are made or new information is released regarding those regulations. Everyone should also be told what penalties they and your workplace will face if compliancy isn’t maintained by all. Hold in-office trainings to teach employees all they need to know about HIPAA privacy and security regulations and to answer any questions they might have. You or your HIPAA privacy office can conduct these trainings, or if you use HIPAA security software, many of these programs offer training courses and seminars for your office to use. Take the necessary time to keep staff members knowledgeable on the HIPAA regulations and device standards they must follow in order to keep themselves and your organization HIPAA compliant. Education will take time, but it’s your best asset so make the time to do it.
Maintain possession of mobile devices.
The most common HIPAA violation today is mobile devices storing patient health information being lost or stolen. It’s the obligation of covered entities and business associates to keep their mobile devices secure and out of the wrong hands, so if an employee accidentally loses a laptop or work tablet, or leaves it unattended and it gets stolen, your business pays for that mistake. Continually remind employees to be aware of where mobile devices are at all times and to shut them down and lock them up when they’re not using them.
Enable encryptions and firewalls.
Your next defense with mobile devices is enabling encryptions, firewalls and secure user authentication on every device. There are technologies that can also remotely lock, or wipe (ie. Reset to factory defaults erasing all apps and data) using apps and software programs. This is your backup plan if a work device is lost or stolen. Again, stress the importance of maintaining possession of devices and keeping the encryptions and firewalls up-to-date and user authentication hard to crack to employees handling these devices. Accidents do happen, but sometimes employees are just cavalier, so to help your employees and yourself remain HIPAA compliant, enable these security precautions on each mobile device your business has and lends out for employee use.