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If you run a dental office, you can’t afford to overlook HIPAA guidelines, which is key to cybersecurity in dentistry. Failure to stay compliant not only exposes your practice to cyberattacks but also leads to substantial penalties.
However, navigating the complex regulations isn’t a stroll in the park. It requires specialized knowledge and ongoing audits to ensure compliance. That’s why more dental practices are hiring HIPAA experts to help them avoid costly mistakes.
A HIPAA expert often assumes the role of a HIPAA compliance officer. They’re responsible for implementing programs and enforcing guidelines to ensure that your practice adheres to HIPAA and HITECH guidelines.
To fill this role, you can either hire a dedicated compliance officer, assign it to an existing employee, or outsource the job completely. This person must be familiar with healthcare legislation and standards for ensuring the safety of protected health information (PHI.)
A HIPAA compliance officer can help you:
Now you may wonder, why can’t we just get our IT guy to handle HIPAA compliance?
HIPAA compliance goes beyond IT. Not to mention, your IT folks are probably already stretched thin and don’t have the extra bandwidth to perform the analysis, assessments, and administrative tasks required to ensure that your dental practice stays compliant.
Additionally, a compliance officer can provide an aim perspective during audits and assessments to catch any issues that your internal IT team might have overlooked.
Some HIPAA guidelines are technical and require specialized knowledge in cybersecurity. A compliance officer is well-versed in these measures and techniques. They can help you implement the right technology, software applications, and processes to achieve a high level of data security.
Moreover, HIPAA compliance is an ongoing effort. Not only do you have to stay abreast of changing regulations, but you also need to make sure that any changes you have made to your practice don’t affect your compliance status. Having a dedicated resource helps ensure accountability, so nothing falls through the cracks.
A HIPAA expert is also responsible for keeping records of your risk assessments and analyses. These are critical documentation if your practice has to undergo a HIPAA audit or an investigation.
The short answer is yes!
Whether you’re hiring an internal resource or outsourcing the role, having a HIPAA expert on your team can help you navigate the complex regulations, stay compliant, protect your sensitive patient data, and avoid hefty fines.
To help your HIPAA expert do their job and minimize the risks of oversight, use a cloud-based HIPAA-compliant dental practice management platform to ensure that your workflows are compliant and your patient data is protected.