3 Tips for Maintaining Regulatory Compliance While Working Remotely
The shift from working in an office to working from home has been swift in response to the global outbreak of COVID-19. Businesses have been scrambling to try to ensure that their workforce has access to all the tools and files needed to continue working, while also ensuring that all privacy statutes are enforced. This is especially important in the healthcare world where HIPAA concerns have been cropping up.
We are no stranger to the regulatory issues that can crop up when setting up an employee, or your whole workforce, to work remotely. We have helped many of our clients navigate similar waters. With that in mind, we have compiled our top three tips for healthcare companies trying to maintain HIPAA compliance with a remote workforce:
Encourage employees to set up workspaces apart from other family members whenever possible.
The number one goal of HIPAA is to protect patients’ PHI (Protected Health Information) and ePHI. In the workplace, you as an employer are able to maintain a certain level of control over who accesses what PHI. Now that employees are working from home along with all of their family members and/or roommates, it is harder to maintain control over who is seeing what. Now is a great time to send a reminder to employees that stresses the importance of maintaining a workspace where they are able to protect patients’ PHI and ensure they are the only ones able to see it.
Make online HIPAA refresher courses available to employees.
There is no better time like the present to give employees access to continuing education courses that reinforce HIPAA knowledge and best practices. Microsoft SharePoint is a great platform for making training videos available to employees working remotely, as well as any other HIPAA training materials you would like them to have access to, as a refresher.
Ensure you have a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) signed with any software vendors whose product you are using to communicate PHI.
There are a variety of software solutions available that can help you and your employees maintain connectivity right now, including Microsoft Teams. It is important, however, to note that any vendor that has access to PHI is considered a business associate and you must have a signed business associate agreement (BAA) with them for communication through that software to be considered HIPAA-compliant.
It is important to note that not all software solutions for healthcare communication are equal. Microsoft Teams is listed in Microsoft’s Tier D compliance category, meaning that all of the innovative security controls are automatically activated and it meets the standards required by HIPAA. We can show you all the ways that Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Office 365 can help your employees maintain HIPPA compliance while working remotely.
If you or your company need assistance with managing regulatory compliance while working remotely contact our team of experts to get a plan in place to manage your business responsibly.