What Is HIPAA Certification and Should I Get One?

If you’re wondering about what is HIPAA certification, and whether or not you need it, you’re in the right place. 

In premise, HIPAA certification is not a necessity, but it is definitely a great addition to your organization, on the basis of learning about HIPAA compliance.

In this article, we will cover what is HIPAA certification, why it’s important, and the types of certification.

So keep reading to learn more.

What Is HIPAA Certification?

HIPAA certification which is provided by a variety of private companies in the health sectors comes in a multitude of sizes, shapes, and formats. At the most pragmatic level, this certification is a third-party process that assists your organization in becoming HIPAA compliant, and hopefully staying that way. 

It might be an external evaluation of your current compliance per the Security Rule, or it might involve actual training for the individuals that are part of your workforce. Fun fact: there’s also Army HIPAA training.

Despite the official sense that the word provides when rolling off your tongue, it is not a legally required or identified process and does not absolve the organization from the HIPAA structures present in the Privacy and Security rules.

Meaning there is no standard for implementation specificity that enforces a covered entity to certify their compliance.  However, as per the rules in HIPAA, as a covered entity you are required to conduct regular assessment of your compliance, and thus your security measures. 

Because it is not the requirement for these assessments to occur internally, a covered entity might choose to hire a third-party to conduct these examinations.

Also, another requirement of the Security Rule is that all of your employees and subcontractors are compliant trained. Once again, this can be performed internally, but your enterprise might choose to delegate the training through “certification” to a third-party provider.

So what is HIPAA certification? It’s many things.

Why Is HIPAA Training of Utmost Importance?

The requirements established in the HIPAA rule are complex, to say the least, not to mention, supported by a host of fines and criminal indictments that occur in response to the violation. 

One of the main reasons HIPAA training is very important stems from the fact that the violations are quite innocuous. It’s not enough to know that you shouldn’t give personal health information to unauthorized parties.

Behaviors that might result in HIPAA violation are, but not limited to:

An employee leaves their desk for several minutes, accidentally leaving a folder with personal health information open.

An employee emails patient information to themselves at their personal email so that they can continue work at home.

An employee forgets to log off and wipe their computer before going back home.

An employee discusses private health information with other employees in public facilities.

As you can see, even the most obvious things can be quite innocuous. HIPAA training strives to foster culture that allows the employees to report their violations with fear of consequence. It’s important for healthcare facilities to have open-door policies, welcoming anonymous reporting. 

In addition to the daily risks of healthcare at all levels of the enterprise, patient information is vulnerable, especially digitally. It’s critical to have backed cyber-security systems in place, as well as teams dedicated to the maintenance of these systems to prevent breaches in data. 

Without the two, personal health information & physician information is vulnerable to hackers. Employees can easily choose to sell this information, which begs the question of what kind of employees are you hiring.

Typically, a HIPAA certification does not train employees on cyber-security. But ensuring that everyone who needs – has the certification creates the culture of awareness that works in unison with backed cyber-security systems that ensure information remains safe.

The Types of HIPAA Certification

When it comes to actual HIPAA certification, there are several types that focus on various aspects of the HIPAA rule. None of these are strictly required or legally identified, but they are useful nonetheless. 

Privacy & Security Awareness Training

This program is easily overseen by the federal government. It is required for all of the employees that work in the Department of Health & Human Resources but is not required from your organization.

The course covers cyber-security awareness, as well as role-based training for managers, IT admins, executives. It’s not limited to HIPAA, as it only addresses the HIPAA compliance as part of the greater picture.

Certified HIPAA Professional

This is a first-level program that covers the foundations of HIPAA compliance as well as the history of the law and has no prerequisites for its use 

This program is perfect for individuals who work at healthcare enterprises, and consequently, have access to PHI. This certification has a variety of applications and is useful for anyone, such as executives, supervisors, IT security, administrative staff.

Certified HIPAA Administrator

This program adds to the previous one and is most useful for people who oversee the delivery or deliver healthcare services. This includes hospital admins and nurses. This program is focused on data privacy compliance and concerns itself with how the HIPAA legislation affects the dissemination of PHI, and the patients themselves.

This who have this certification can be expected to fully comply with HIPAA, and be aware of how their compliance affects the patients on a daily basis.

Certified HIPAA Security Specialist

This program requires that you have already passed the CHP certification. This program entirely concerns itself with the technical aspects of HIPAA compliance, including security practices and standards, as well as how they apply to the management of electronic medical records. It’s designed for IT employees in mind, but other workers can make use of it as well.

HIPAA Compliance for Your Organization

Now that you know what is HIPAA certification, you are well on your way to determine whether or not your organization needs it. If you do choose to implement it in your workforce, you still need to decide whether to do it internally or hire another third-party to assist you in the process. 

In any case, we offer hassle-free HIPAA compliance services, such as certification, assessment, and much more. If that’s of interest to you, get in touch with us and we will happily accommodate your needs.