With fines for HIPAA violations ranging from $50,000 to $1.5 million per violation and a cumulative annual penalty of $1.5 million, medical practices need to remain HIPAA compliant at all times.
Although all alleged HIPAA breaches should be treated as potential risks to your medical practice, some are more prominent than others.
Common HIPAA Violations
Employees are accidentally disclosing patient information.
HIPAA violations include your staff having a casual chat with friends or colleagues and sharing PHI (protected health information), which may result in a hefty fine for your practice.
Carelessly handling PHI
If your practice uses paper charts or notes, your doctors or nurses would be in breach of HIPAA if they leave a patient’s chart in an exam room where other patients can see it.
HIPAA violations include forgetting a patient’s lab test results near a public area printer.
Lost or stolen devices
Devices like laptops and mobile phones can be lost or stolen in a matter of seconds.
HIPAA violations include the theft of PHI from stolen or missing devices containing sensitive patient data.
Unauthorized disclosure of PHI
HIPAA violations include reporting PHI to a patient’s family member or even another medical facility without the patient’s written permission.
Before your employees can release PHI to a third party, HIPAA needs the patient’s consent.
Posting on social networks
It is a HIPAA violation to share patient images or textual information on social media.
Even if the workers do not mention names or other personal information, the patient will be identified, which violates privacy.
Illegally accessing PHI
HIPAA violations are common when an unauthorized employee accesses a celebrity patient’s PHI out of curiosity.
This violation could result in a hefty fine for your practice, as well as the loss of your employee’s job and even jail time.
Not implementing safeguards
HIPAA requires all hospitals and healthcare facilities to take responsibility for protecting PHI.
This includes risk analysis, securing PHI, implementing HIPAA enforcement software, and making PHI open to approved individuals. It’s a HIPAA violation if you don’t obey these Rules.