HIPAA Training Standards: How to Educate Your Team?

It is vital to constantly stress how important HIPAA training for employees is. In the permanently shifting cybersecurity landscape, regular HIPAA education of your workers can reduce a lot of risks. These include data breaches, unintentional PHI disclosures because of the lack of information, etc. 

Unintentional HIPAA violations are a common issue nowadays, as the human factor causes the majority of errors. They lead to severe consequences, such as big fines and even administrative and criminal responsibility. But there is also the bright side. It is possible to avoid such penalties by maintaining HIPAA training for your employees. 

HIPAA training is mandatory for every organization, that handles PHI. It doesn’t depend on the size of a healthcare organization. It can range from huge enterprises to practicing doctors that hired only one assistant. But anyway, all such entities need to organize periodical HIPAA training for all employees. But how to determine, what kind of training is needed for your entity, how often do you have to carry it out, and so on? In this guide, you will find out answers to all these questions and even more!

Brief Information About the HIPAA Training Requirements

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, there is one important thing to remember about HIPAA training for workers. Covered entities (CEs) should keep up with the training requirements of both Security and Privacy Rules, while business associates (BAs) should keep up only with the Privacy Rule training requirement. They are quite flexible in implementation because there are no strict frames for their adoption. These requirements extend to all workforce members, even though they don’t have an access to PHI. Let’s take look at the short overview of these two standards.

The Security Rule Training Requirements

According to the HIPAA Security Rule, a CE has to deliver proper management and authorization to workers that deal with the ePHI. It also has to educate the workforce on its policies and security procedures. A covered entity also has to implement proper measures against team members, that violate procedures and policies.

These requirements seem to be simple, but it still has a lot of possible errors in applying. For example, it doesn’t state how frequently it is necessary to maintain HIPAA training or how to combine requirements of both Security and Privacy Rules to educate employees and business associates. So, a covered entity should take it very responsibly and develop its approach, so that it can reduce the number of possible violations in the future. For detailed information, take a look at the OCR’s document, that summarizes the Security Rule.

The Privacy Rule Training Requirements

A covered entity should teach all workforce members, such as workers, volunteers, interns, and other members that are under the entity’s direct supervision. The CE should provide the education of its policies and procedures. But it must be maintained only when this education is necessary for those employees to perform their duties. A covered entity should have and implement proper penalties against employees that violate privacy procedures and policies of the CE and the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

As well in the situation with Security Rule requirements, there also must be some potential errors in implementing the standards. For instance, there possibly can occur the misconception, that such a HIPAA training should be provided only for team members, that directly use PHI in their work. But actually, other workers must be aware of HIPAA basics in order not to disclose PHI unintentionally. So, they need HIPAA training as well. The key is that every workforce member must receive the appropriate training. For some workers, there is no need for excess information, while for others the lack of knowledge can lead to violations. Take a look at the summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

How Often is It Necessary to Comply With HIPAA Training?

As we’ve mentioned before, there are no strict requirements regarding the frequency of HIPAA training. It is absolutely up to every covered entity. The only requirement is to keep the knowledge of your workforce up to date. Of course, the ideal variant is to maintain annual training for employees. As the rule, the government changes its laws and policies yearly. So, it’s an exemplary system of updating your team’s knowledge base. But it doesn’t mean that it is necessary to implement such a method, as it’s fully up to your choice.

What Should the Proper HIPAA Training Consist Of?

HIPAA Training, Basic Topics

Unlike the situation with time frames, there is some guidance about what the HIPAA training should consist of. It concerns necessary topics and questions. There is a list of a few topics, that are vital to know for every employee:

What does HIPAA Protect?

The training standardly begins with the topic of HIPAA Protection. It’s about the types of information, that is secure under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). And it addresses the theme of protected health information, or shortly PHI.

What is The Aim of This Safeguarding?

As we all know, in the constantly evolving information space sometimes it’s just impossible to stop the dissemination of curious data. Especially if it is someone’s sensitive health information. Such a situation can not only embarrass “the man of the hour”, but also lead to medical identity stealing. Medical identity stealing happens when a malefactor steals someone’s private data to file false complaints about medical services. These incidents interfere with the proper treatment and take tons of money from suffering individuals each year.

How to Secure Data?

The proper HIPAA training must involve the best methods on how to maintain the personal identification of a user, ensure urgent access, and manage auto-logout. It is a very important practical knowledge, as most of the data or even all of it is stored electronically. So, if a few years ago it was important to learn the physical safeguards of the PHI, today it’s vitally to know methods of protecting it on devices. So, the HIPAA training has to educate employees on how to manage ePHI, so that they could:

  1. Guarantee privacy, wholeness, and accessibility of all ePHI they provide, manage, share and get.
  2. Determine expected danger, that could damage the data safety or wholeness and defend ePHI from it.
  3. Defend it from really expectable and unacceptable using or disclosing.
  4. Make sure, that team keeps up with its compliance.

This is a really important topic to hold on to HIPAA compliance. And it must involve learning all types of electronic sharing and access to patients’ data and records. Electronic data sharing should include all aspects ranging from emails to all internal communication on the private server.

So, with this sample of basic requirements for HIPAA training, it would be easy to choose the best training according to your company’s needs.

How to Maintain HIPAA Training?

Thus, we’ve found out a lot of basic things about HIPAA training. Now we know about what the requirements for education are, who needs to pass the training, and what consequences might be after the HIPAA violation. So, it’s time to proceed to the practical part of this guide: how to maintain HIPAA training? Here is the step-by-step instruction:

1. Figure out, what your organization is already compliant at

Even though the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all covered entities to spend resources on the HIPAA training for employees, it is possible that some of them already maintain some methods of compliance. That’s why it is important to determine, where your organization is standing at the moment. If you’ve already implemented the most efficient methodologies in your workflow, it is a great beginning point. It concerns implementing cybersecurity standards as well as its evaluation too.

2. Think about what is needed for your organization to be compliant

For example, you may have great e-security methodologies on the one hand. But you may have a lack of workforce knowledge about it on the other hand. That’s why there still may be the tendency of unintentional ePHI, that prevents your company from being HIPAA-compliant. Thus it’s important to evaluate not only your strengths but also your weaknesses. After this important step, you may understand, what kind of training to choose for your employees and what to pay attention to in the future.

3. Test the knowledge your team gained

If you have assessed your strong and weak areas and chose the best HIPAA education for your team, it doesn’t give you any guarantees that no errors will occur in the future. It is necessary to control your workforce’s acquired knowledge. And once the error occurs or you find some failures in workers’ awareness, it is necessary to repeat all the steps written below. Regular update on your team’s proficiency is a key to the violations’ reduction in the long term.


HIPAA Training is Important

Your HIPAA compliance is a benefit not only for your healthcare organization but also for the clients. And the best way to be HIPAA-compliant is to maintain regular training for your team. It will minimize the incidents of data breaches and other PHI violations and grow the patients’ trust. This means your workforce will be aware of HIPAA rules and regulations and cybersecurity standards, and also will be able to implement them in practice. 

But first of all, it is important to assess gaps in your organization’s HIPAA compliance, as well as strong points. This estimation will help you to choose the proper education for your team. Also, it is necessary to remember that regularity is the main point in your approach. As the healthcare and cybersecurity fields are actively changing, the knowledge of your team should be systematically updated to avoid the human factor in your errors.

If you’re curious about other aspects of HIPAA training, feel free to contact us! Our team will reach out to you as soon as possible.

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