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A HIPAA audit is very important for service providing organizations, because the penalties for violations can bring their business down. It is important to understand the nuances of a HIPAA audit if one has to be successful.

A HIPAA audit is, for many service providing organizations, a make or break situation. This is because HIPAA audits are considered stringent. Violations can attract huge penalties, which is why getting it right the first time is extremely important. An entry level HIPAA violation can cost the organization upwards of $200,000, and the highest can run into multiple seven-figure amounts. So, an organization has to ensure that it gets its HIPAA audit right.

Risk analysis is the heart of the matter

Insulating oneself from heavy HIPAA audit violations requires service providers to be compliant with HIPAA audit requirements. Conducting a comprehensive risk analysis is the perfect solution to a HIPAA audit. These may appear to be no-brainers, but at its core, a HIPAA audit looks for these critical areas, so it is all the wiser for organizations to ensure these basic requirements to get the audit of their Security Rule and Privacy Rule right.

A thorough and comprehensive risk analysis has to be done to offset HIPAA violations, since a HIPAA audit can happen across the broad for a large number of parameters. HIPAA expects the service providers it audits to not only have these; they should also demonstrate so.

What practices are necessary for passing a HIPAA audit?

While being compliant with the risk analysis requirements is at the core of being compliant with HIPAA audit requirements; other tips can go some way in helping organizations understand ways by which to deal with HIPAA audits:

  • Any plans relating to the service provider's data management, security, training and notification should be documented
  • A secure access password policy has to be put in place
  • Although not a strict HIPAA requirement, encrypting Protected Health Information, irrespective of whether the PHI is in a database or in files on a remote server, is a good practice
  • Using SSL whenever there is web access of sensitive data is a good idea
  • Only some, select members of the organization should have knowledge of the techniques relating to encryption and the way they work
  • Scans and images should be encrypted and should contain no personally identifiable information
  • Avoid using public FTP
  • Only VPN access is best used for remote access
  • A disaster recovery plan should be documented

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