HIPAA Audits: What You Need to Know

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulates covered entities that include most health care organizations and professionals as well as the businesses they associate with, holding those entities to reporting and security requirements. HIPAA audits, including performance and security audits, ensure those entities effectively and efficiently remain in compliance with the regulation.

What Is a HIPAA Audit?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) defines a HIPAA performance audit as an evaluation conducted in accordance with the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) to provide observations, findings, and conclusions regarding program effectiveness, economy, and efficiency.

What Does a HIPAA Audit Measure?

The HIPAA Audit Program assesses covered entities’ and their business associates’ compliance with the requirements of the regulation. As provided at HHS.gov, the protocol is organized by rule and provision, addressing the specifications of the privacy, security, and breach notification rules. Auditors want to ensure the organizations they are auditing have effectively implemented the necessary policies and procedures to meet the standards and specifications outlined in HIPAA. These will vary based on the type of organization.

What Do You Need to Know to Ensure You’re Effectively and Efficiently Maintaining HIPAA Compliance?

One of the most effective ways to ensure you’re keeping up with HIPAA compliance requirements is to hire a third-party auditor to conduct a full HIPAA audit. An experienced security and compliance firm will be able to objectively assess your environment to identify compliance deficiencies and provide concrete solutions.

Help with HIPAA Compliance

Although it can seem like a major headache, HIPAA is meant to protect your organization and your patients. Don’t become overwhelmed by the need to maintain HIPAA compliance. Start by familiarizing yourself and your staff with the basic requirements, and seek out a trusted and experienced IT consultant that can help ensure you are on the right track.