Tuesday, August 09, 2022

HIPAA Compliance Checklist: A Quick Guide

Introduction

Health-related data is one of the most sensitive data categories. For this reason, the government upholds data security by issuing security guidelines and imposing penalties for neglect. Many firms may face unfathomable financial hardships due to breaking the rules. It's frequently impossible to change client perceptions of a company to regain their trust. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, is one of the regulatory frameworks and is a federal statute that the US Congress enforces. Its primary goal is to safeguard the accuracy of medical data. This thoroughly explains HIPAA and the procedures you should take to ensure your business is secure.

HIPAA Compliance - What Is It?

Your initial thought may be, "What exactly does HIPAA compliance mean?" Health insurance providers must adhere to HIPAA regulations. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act aims to protect confidential patient information. Several security measures, including physical processing, network, and security safeguards, must be in place for people who maintain, process, or handle confidential health records (PHI). Healthcare organizations, enterprises, and any other producer with access to PHI must follow HIPAA regulations.

HIPAA Compliance Checklist

  • Assessments and Audits

Conducting routine security inspections and tests by HIPAA security regulations is the first step in adhering to the HIPAA checklist for conformance. You must also examine and document the findings, any security issues you may have found, and your strategy for resolving them.

  • Policies and Procedures

It would help if you made sure that the policies and practices you put in place adhere to HIPAA security, privacy, and breach notification rules. For the annual review, documentation is needed. In particular, you should create privacy rules and regulations to control regular and irregular disclosures of information. Restrict requests for private information and other similar demands. Processes and timeframes for handling access requests as well as privacy complaints. Privacy. Before disclosing or using PHI for treatments, payments, or healthcare operations, ensure you have the patient's consent in writing.

  • Accountable Officer

HIPAA compliance is simple to manage if a responsible person or department is in charge. A HIPAA enforcement officer should oversee all aspects of HIPAA compliance and HIPAA compliance software. It also offers a transparent accountability chain for your business.

  • Risk Assessment

At the very least, teams must undertake an annual security risk assessment as required by HIPAA. Teams must create a process to manage the general risk analysis and risk assessment. Teams could work with a third party to conduct an unbiased assessment of the HIPAA security processes' effectiveness and efficiency to estimate the risk. Security personnel must review the assessments and address any compliance issues.

  • Train Employees

Anyone handling PHI is required to complete HIPAA compliance training. Employees who have received training can better define what PHI-related acts are compliant with or non-compliant with. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandates that refresher training be given to all workers. Depending on the size and resources of your business, it could be planned yearly or frequently. It is also crucial to let HIPAA and your employees know the consequences of violations. Furthermore, you want to communicate how your company reports infractions when they happen.

  • Plan of Action

Make a plan of action for the actions you'll take in the case of a potential cyberattack. All HIPAA-compliant businesses are required to have particular protocols in place for handling any unanticipated data handling breaches by the Breach Notification Rule. Include details like alerting clients and other parties.

Conclusion

Compliance is continually monitored; it is not done on a single occasion. Ensure you are going above and above to protect the security of your personal information. To protect your business and your clients, consider the importance of regular risk assessments, personnel training, and a robust data governance framework.

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Is exercising with Covid a good idea?

Although we're (hopefully) moving toward a post-pandemic world, Covid-19 is still prevalent and the risk of catching it remains high. The virus can temporarily turn your life upside down, leaving you feeling thoroughly worse for wear. What’s more, many favored self-care routines are firmly on pause for a week or more, affecting mental health and emotional wellbeing. 

For a lot of people, working out is their favorite form of self-care. But don’t worry — if you’ve been unlucky enough to catch Covid, this article will provide you with everything you need to know about exercising with the virus.

Can you exercise with Covid?

The short answer is yes, you can still exercise if you are affected by Covid, influenza, or other illnesses. However, there are several things to take into account if you plan to do so.

Understand the health risks

Firstly, you may risk harm to yourself if you overexert while suffering with sickness. While nothing is stopping you from doing a home workout, exercise may exacerbate your symptoms and leave you feeling even worse than before. Because Covid predominantly attacks the respiratory system, any strenuous activity can leave you feeling even more breathless and lethargic than you already do.

Check your symptoms

It’s also important to listen to your body — are you experiencing ‘below the neck’ symptoms, such as a cough, chest pain, or breathing problems? If so, this may be your body telling you to rest or focus on other healthy, yet more sedate activities. So, instead of weights, take up something else you enjoy, such as reading, meditation or having a relaxing bath.

If you test positive for Covid but still feel normal, it is still advisable to only exercise with caution as you may not experience symptoms until you’re more breathless. Try experimenting with a short, low-intensity workout and note how you feel. Proceed only if you are well enough and as always, consult your doctor if you have any concerns.

When should you perform strenuous exercise post-Covid?

There are no official recommendations regarding exercising after you’ve had Covid. However, you shouldn’t necessarily treat a negative test as a green flag for any high-intensity activity.

Don’t run before you can walk

For exercising post-Covid, experts advise spending seven days on a ‘phase’ of exercise before you increase the amount you do each week. For example, suppose you have spent the majority of your isolation time resting, your aim should be to slowly reintroduce physical activity into your routine, through activities such as yoga, gardening, or walking. Then, if you feel up to it the following week, you can advance to resistance training or quick bursts of cardiovascular activity, such as swimming or cycling.

Always listen to your body. You may be tempted to leap back up to pre-Covid exercise levels straight away, but be patient — intense exercise after a period of rest can cause more harm than good. Finally, don’t put pressure on yourself — instead, try to understand that each day may be different. Keep in mind how much your body has already gone through and give yourself plenty of time to relax and recover.

What are some tips for exercising with Covid?

If you’re adamant that you’re well enough to work out, follow these tips to help you balance a full recovery with the benefits of exercise.

Exercise in isolation

A gentle reminder: Covid is seriously contagious. Though it might feel like we’re out of the woods, if you test positive for Covid you should still self-isolate to prevent passing the virus on to others in public places, such as the gym.

According to recent data, we emit an enormous 132 times more aerosols (the small droplets that spread through the air when we breathe) during high-intensity exercise than when we’re at rest. Therefore, exercising in a gym or enclosed space should be seriously avoided as it can set off a Covid super spreader — where one contagious person infects many others.

Explore new workouts

Are you a keen gym bunny, pavement pounder, or spin obsessor? If so, such favored exercises are likely to be off the cards right now. However, self-isolation is a good opportunity to discover the array of versatile home workouts that are out there — whether you are an expert, total beginner, or somewhere in between. How about gettin’ funky with an indoor walking session set to ‘70s disco music? Alternatively, try this low-impact full-body program which combines yoga, pilates, and ballet principles to target all major muscle groups. 

If you prefer a group workout, there is an abundance of virtual classes available online to give you back a healthy sense of normality. For example, try a live stream yoga class to enjoy the camaraderie of a social workout.

And as a quick reminder — although these exercises are shorter and lower-intensity than your average gym blast, you should still take care to not overdo them. If you’re struggling, never push yourself to complete the entire exercise set — whether live or via pre-recorded video — when you can always return to it later.

This is a guest blog entry.