The HIPAA self-assessment tool - a brief understanding

HIPAA self-assessment is an essential part of organizations that come under HIPAA. HIPAA self-assessment is to be done by organizations from time to time as a means to ensure that they are compliant with HIPAA requirements.

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which was legislated in 1996, has the primary aim of ensuring that employees who change or leave jobs do not lose out their health insurance benefits. HIPAA was also enacted to make sure that individuals healthcare records were kept confidential. In addition, HIPAA also intended to simplify and ease insurance procedures for patients, so that the healthcare industry could reduce and control its expenses down.

Why should organizations get their HIPAA self-assessment right?

Since high importance is attached to HIPAA; getting their HIPAA self-assessment right is necessary and mandatory for organizations. This is mainly because if they get their HIPAA actions wrong, that is, if there is any breach of Protected Health Information from them; they attract hefty penalties. So, healthcare organizations and entities that need to carry out HIPAA self-assessment need to possess in-depth knowledge of the way HIPAA works.

The HIPAA self-assessment tool

HIPAA self-assessment is, as the term suggests, a way to keep checking if HIPAA requirements are being met by HIPAA-regulated entities from time to time. To ease the way by which these entities carry out HIPAA self-assessment; HIPAA has authorized the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to develop a HIPAA self-assessment tool.

This HIPAA self-assessment tool is a tool that has been jointly developed by the ONC with active collaboration with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the HHS Office of the General Counsel (OGC), and can be freely downloaded from the healthIT.gov website.

What does the HIPAA self-assessment tool contain?

The HIPAA self-assessment tool has over 150 questions that are most likely to be encountered by users. The HIPAA self-assessment tool has resources that help the user understand the following:

hipaaSelfAssessment

Other core contents of the HIPAA self-assessment tool

The HIPAA self-assessment tool has another set of core contents. These are:

  • The administrative safeguards
  • Physical safeguards
  • Technical safeguards, all of which are safeguards under the HIPAA Security Rule.