What’s the Best Way to Get HIPAA Compliant?

Do you have any idea how much of your personal information is currently floating around in cyberspace? If you did, you would probably spend a lot more learning about data security protocols.

Fortunately, the Federal government has already done a lot of that work for you, so you don’t need to lose sleep thinking about data protection best practices. The Federal Government you say? Aren’t they a lot better at capturing your personal information than actually protecting it?

As it turns out, the Clinton administration helped pass the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 which set the standard for worldwide consumer data protection. This far sighted piece of legislation established guidelines for any business that’s going to be handling consumer medical information including, but not limited to patient records, billing information, and lot more.

While most healthcare companies are happy to comply with the HIPAA mandate, many of them aren’t so sure about the best way to get compliant. Is this something that’s better done with in house IT resources? Or this something that should be handed off to outside contractors?

If this conundrum sounds familiar, here are the pros and cons of in-house vs outsourced HIPAA compliance.

In-House Compliance

The decision to pursue HIPAA security compliance with in-house resources is going to depend a lot on the size of your information technology (IT) department.

At larger companies, with deep IT resources, getting in lockstep with HIPAA standards won’t really be all that tough, especially if you’ve got skilled network data security administrators. That’s because most of the HIPAA protocols are the kind of basic, and worthwhile, security procedures you’ve probably already implemented anyways.

Outsourcing Compliance

For smaller companies, however, getting compliant and staying compliant might require a little outside assistance. HIPAA standards can be seriously confusing to IT professionals who don’t have a lot of experience with network security standards and aren’t the kinds of things that your standard web developer or self-taught IT manager will have a lot of experience with.

For that reason, you may want to consider outsourcing the entire project to consultants. While we understand that very few small businessmen and women are really interested in adding more consultants to their lives.

When it comes to HIPAA, however, they’re definitely the way to go.

Finding a qualified HIPAA consultant is going to be a lot easier if you’re already working in a HIPAA-friendly industry like healthcare. In that case, all you’ll have to do is just ask your vendors who they’re using for their HIPAA compliance.

If you’re not in the healthcare business, you might want to ask one of your current IT consultants for a recommendation for someone who can help. Most of the bigger agencies like Raymond James have HIPAA consultants on contract, so the search is probably going to be easier than you might think.

Find the One That Works

At the end of the day, you may find that a combination of the two methods is just what the doctor ordered. You might want to do the initial work yourself, and contract out ongoing compliance to someone else. However you do it, the time for getting HIPAA compliant is now.

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