The healthcare sector employs a whopping 16 million people in the United States. That number has only grown given rises in health-consciousness adding more money to the profession.
If you’ve made the leap to healthcare and are mulling over how you can become more proficient in managing your HIPAA obligations, you may be thinking of getting a HIPAA certification.
HIPAA certifications are great ways to prove your knowledge regarding government required privacy practices. They can increase your client base or boost your marketability as an employee.
In this post, we share some details about HIPAA certifications. Those details will include how to get certificated and how you can keep yourself HIPAA proficient far into the future.
The Government Doesn’t Issue Certifications
There’s a common misconception around HIPAA certification that we’d like to clarify straight away. That is that the government does not issue HIPAA certifications. Therefore, getting certified is not a requirement when you’re looking to work in a healthcare capacity.
All HIPAA certifications do is prepare you to comply with HIPAA regulations. Failure to comply with HIPAA can result in lawsuits and/or the loss of one’s medical license.
Therein lies the value of being formally trained and a recipient of paperwork that proclaims to coworkers and customers that you’re well prepared to do what’s required.
How to Get Certified by a Third Party
If you’re interested in getting HIPAA certified, there are a few actions you’ll take to successfully move towards that goal. Our team has broken the process out into four steps for brevity purposes. Some of these steps may have sub-steps you’ll need to navigate.
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Here’s what you’ll do:
Understand Your Why
HIPAA certification costs money. It also takes a fair amount of time as is described in this HIPAA certification guide.
So then, why are you going down the training pathway?
Understanding your why will help keep you on-task during your certification process and will keep you from quitting prematurely. That’s important given that many people quit their certification after completing it partially. In doing so, they lose their money and prospects of getting an important education.
Assess Potential Certification Providers
Certification providers are a dime a dozen when it comes to HIPAA certificates. That mass availability, however, does not say anything about quality.
We’ve heard of medical professionals getting their certifications done with horrendous providers. What that means for you is that you must do your diligence in assessing your options.
Leaning on online reviews and/or asking for word of mouth recommendations from colleagues on who provides quality training are both great places to start your vetting process.
Take Your Training
With your certification provider selected, your next step will be to jump headfirst into training. Training may take place partially in classrooms and partially online. Given today’s pandemic society, fully online training is also common.
In any case, there will be ample opportunities to engage with people seeking their certifications and instructors that are carrying out your lessons, even in fully digital environments.
Again, appreciate that HIPAA certification training is a time commitment. Have an understanding of how you’re going to keep up with coursework that’s asked of you before enrolling. That way, you’re not caught scrambling when lessons begin.
Pass Your Test
At the culmination of your certification training will be an aptitude test. Study for it. Pass it. Get your HIPAA certification.
It’s that easy!
Managing Your Certification/Staying in Compliance Going Forward
If only life were so easy as getting your HIPAA certification and forever knowing that you’re equipped to stay in compliance. HIPAA regulations change all the time and as new technology comes out that may serve as a means to manage patient information, gray areas emerge that will need legal clarification.
Ensuring that you’re staying sharp as to what’s expected of you by HIPAA and to reduce your exposure towards legal action, take on the following:
Participate in Self Audits
HIPAA requires that practitioners conduct self-audits each year to ensure there are no blind spots in their workflows. Participate in these audits, find issues, and produce remediation plans.
Use those plans to guide changes that work to reduce your exposure.
Stay up to Date With Your Training
Most HIPAA certification courses will allow their alumni access to new updates regarding HIPAA best practices. Keep in the know regarding these changes.
If things seem to be shifting rapidly, consider getting your certification renewed.
Train Your Team
Your practice’s HIPAA compliance capabilities are only as good as your team’s weakest link. So then, take time to train each of your team members on what you know so they too can embody the same level of professionalism when it comes to managing patient data.
Bi-annual training can go a long way when it comes to protecting your business’s efficacy. Some practices will go even further than bi-annual.
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They may choose to conduct self-guided training on a quarterly basis that team members can take from their work stations.
HIPAA Certification Is Affordable and Important Legal Armor
Many healthcare professionals forgo HIPAA certification. Their reason for doing so is that it’s not required and therefore, isn’t worth pursuing.
As you likely surmised from our post, our take on HIPAA certification importance is very different. Just because something isn’t required doesn’t mean it isn’t worth having. We’re sure that every medical professional that has ever gotten in trouble due to HIPAA compliance issues will agree.
We wish you the best in extending your education on getting HIPAA certified. We also welcome you to explore more of the newest content available on our blog.