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Can one HIPAA violation hurt your medical practice?

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HIPAA violations can cost a healthcare organization its reputation, but they can also cost a lot of money. According the Healthcare IT News, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Associates Inc. (MEEI) will have to pay $1.5 million to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for “potential violations of the HIPAA Security Rule.”

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“An investigation was conducted by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) following an MEEI Feb. 2010 data breach, in which an unencrypted personal laptop containing the electronic protected health information (ePHI) of MEEI patients and research subjects was reported stolen. The laptop contained ePHI – including patient prescriptions and clinical information – of some 3,621 individuals,” Healthcare IT News reported.

A lot of healthcare IT services providers advertise that they work with healthcare organizations. One of the services that these healthcare IT support firms provide is helping healthcare facilities remain compliant with HIPAA and other healthcare regulations.

Things in the healthcare industry are always changing, especially with the advent of cloud computing and electronic medical records. It’s hard for busy IT managers and CIOs to keep up with everything. That’s where our healthcare IT services can help, we specialize in working with healthcare organizations in all areas of IT, network admin, EMR software selection and IT security.

We can advise practice managers or your own IT professional on how to stay up to date with changing healthcare regulations, including HIPAA. They can recommend specialized software and other tools that can minimize the risk of violations. They can also suggest best practices that will ensure that employees always follow the proposed guidelines.

A $1.5 million settlement could put a small clinic or private practice out of business. With proper support and guidance from a reliable healthcare IT support provider, what happened in Massachusetts could be prevented from happening elsewhere.

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