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HIPAA Compliance Training: 3 Free Online Courses

HIPAA Compliance Training: 3 Free Online CoursesHIPAA compliance training for physicians and healthcare professionals to help in EMR and meaningful use compliance is critical for physician’s practices and other healthcare organizations.

There are many in person and online HIPAA compliance courses available for pay, but it would be wise to avail yourselves of free courses and information from the horse’s mouth before you sign up for expensive courses. It will also help you ask the right questions about your software and your data security when purchasing or leasing EMR.

The Office of Civil Rights, part of HHS.GOV, offers training courses in HIPAA compliance, that are free of charge and available at Medscape.org. HIPAA compliance needs to be maintained scrupulously by your practice, and, on behalf of your practice, by your EMR. Some people feel that EMRs should not be certified without higher degrees of encryption in order to further enforce HIPAA. But that is not yet part of our medical culture.

Though your practice may be contemplating providing in-house HIPAA training, or contracting for paid, private HIPAA training, this free government-sponsored set of courses is a great way to begin and further orient yourself and your staff to HIPAA compliance in 2013 and 2014. These programs will also give you free Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits (for physicians) and Continuing Education (CE) credits for other health care professionals.

The courses were developed by Medscape with support from HHS, and you need to register with Medscape in order to take them.

The first course is a particular must-see if you feel you don’t have all the basics down pat.

Course 1: Patient Privacy: A Guide for Providers

According to Medscape these are the goals of the course:

This activity is intended for practicing physicians and other healthcare providers in the United States. The goal of this activity is to describe provisions of the HIPAA privacy rule and how they may be implemented to preserve patients’ rights.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the rights of patients provided by the HIPAA privacy rule
  2. Provide strategies to build and maintain a culture of compliance with HIPAA

Click here for more information.

Course 2: HIPAA and You: Building a Culture of Compliance

This course is intended for all U.S. healthcare providers.

The goal of this activity is to outline the principles of protecting patient information throughout the healthcare setting. Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify circumstances in which sharing patient data without consent is appropriate or inappropriate.
  2. Propose strategies to prevent loss or misuse of protected healthcare information.

Click here for more information.

Course 3: Examining Compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule

This activity is intended for healthcare professionals who interact with protected health information. The goal of this activity is to provide a basic overview for clinicians and other healthcare professionals on the importance of compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule and breach notification requirements. It is not meant to supplement or substitute training required under the Rule.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify responsibilities of covered entities and their business associates under the HIPAA Privacy Rule
  2. Develop strategies for assessing and maintaining a compliance program with the HIPAA Privacy Rule

Click here for more information.

Since some of these rules and delineations of responsibilities have changed over the past number of years, and since these courses are quite current and have been reviewed within the last year, it is a very good idea to study them carefully.

Additional HIPAA-related information for medical providers is available through the HHS Office of Civil Rights website.

It is critical to be familiar enough with some of these provisions and requirements before you buy or upgrade your EMR software, and before implementing your own data devices to access your EMR. Not maintaining HIPAA requirements strictly can be cause for sever fines and other legal penalties.