Charm the Compliance Auditor: Getting Hip to HIPAA HITECH Compliance

Charm the Compliance Auditor:  Getting Hip to HIPAA HITECH Compliance

Never ending HIPAA HITECH compliance management.

If you dread meeting with the HIPAA HITECH compliance auditor you’re in good company. It’s just such tedious and time consuming work to pull together the mountain of information you need to be prepared for an IT audit. And then there’s the audit review process itself — after you’ve gone through all that trouble you find out that something’s wrong and you’re stuck scrambling to explain and fix it. With the frequency of the IT audit cycle and the stringency of the requirements, it feels like a never-ending HIPAA HITECH compliance management marathon.

How can you make the process more manageable for yourself and your organization? Start by understanding the requirements and the scope of what an IT auditor will investigate.

HIPAA regulations cover both business processes and information technology. The compliance audit will examine employee operations and training, access management protocols around patient health information systems, business associate relationships and, most importantly, fulfillment on compliance reporting requirements. On the information technology side, the audit will look at network security, access controls, intrusion detection, disaster recovery, archiving, encryption and again, compliance reporting.

On a macro level these regulatory compliance requirements seem straightforward and make sense. Executing policies and protocols on a micro level, however, is deceptively complex — unless you automate access certification workflow.

With all of the moving parts around maintaining the sanctity and security of patient privacy, it’s easy to fall prey to a cog in the HIPAA compliance wheel. A comprehensive identity and access management solution with built-in HIPAA access control and compliance management not only simplifies the IT audit process but also significantly reduces risk to patient health information.

While the benefits of digitized medical records are clear and valuable, the migration and ongoing data security management process — if mismanaged — can be disastrous on multiple fronts. Imagine the liability associated with highly confidential digital patient records falling into the wrong hands — and then imagine it happening on a large scale. Imagine what could happen when you’re sitting on a bunch of unsecure data and the compliance auditor shows up — it would be a nightmare for both you and your organization.

Fortunately, with the right access governance software, you have the power of an enterprise compliance management system at your disposal. Your IT staff can approve and revoke access, delete accounts, approve exceptions, attach evidence and send access validation audit messages related to governance risk and compliance. This puts you in a great position to both manage digitized records effectively and simplify compliance management at the same time.

When you consider the resource drain associated with HIPAA compliance management within your organization, it’s clear that workflow automation is the answer. Instead of your staff investing countless hours chasing their tails, compliance software takes care of governance risk and compliance, password management, user provisioning, information security and other requirements. Because the HIPAA HITECH compliance framework is already incorporated in the solution, the queries and reports that the compliance auditor will inevitably request take mere minutes — not days — to create and submit.

With health care organizations moving to digitize patient health information in droves, it’s critical to proactively think through how this plays out in the HIPAA regulations and compliance environment. It all starts with understanding the requirements as they relate to information technology, documenting compliance processes and selecting a comprehensive automated solution that executes HIPAA-specific identity management and access governance for you. You save time and money and free up your staff for other important projects. Best of all, you feel confident about the IT audit process — the identity and access management software solution keeps you perpetually prepared and equipped to deal with anything the compliance auditor tosses your way.

The time is now — eliminate dread, worry, frustration and resource drain through automating HIPAA compliance management.

Watch Gwinnett Medical Center talk about automating HIPAA HITECH compliance for the user account provisioning of systems, equipment and healthcare facilities through IT automation and self-service administration.

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Written by Gary Thompson

Gary Thompson is a 35 year veteran of the PR industry. He was the president of Shandwick International, the world’s largest agency with 2000 people in 90 offices and 32 countries. A million mile flyer on both American and United, he got off the road at the “encouragement” of his wife. Four years ago, he founded his own firm, Clarity Communications, which counts Avatier as one its most successful clients.