Updated: Apr 25, 2021
A HIPAA compliance consultant is typically a person or a firm with deep knowledge of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and its associated rules. In working with a HIPAA consultant, it is not unusual for the firm to engage a group of people, each specializing in specific aspects of the regulation. Some of these areas can include risk assessments, employee training, and incident management. Through an engagement, the HIPAA consultant will work with the Covered Entity (CE) or the Business Associates (BA) toward the creation, implementation, and enforcement of HIPAA compliant policies and strategies.
The Challenge of HIPAA Compliance
Today, most organizations that handle sensitive healthcare data understand the importance of achieving and maintain HIPAA compliance. While compliance this effort can be both complicated and time-consuming, failure to achieve compliance can lead to penalties and fines that can be devastating for your organization.
Some of the major challenges healthcare organizations tend to encounter as they work toward achieving HIPAA compliance can include:
Risk Analysis Challenges
For many organizations, one of the most challenging aspects in achieving HIPAA compliance is in the development of risk assessments. These assessments must be performed regularly in order to identify risk exposures that may exist in your security measures.
Implementing technical controls that will protect sensitive data is essential. The effort to identify and close potential gaps can, however, present significant obstacles.
In addition to technical controls, you must build processes around your data protection strategy. In your work to establish these processes, you may face challenges in such areas as risk assessments, employee training, and security control.
Strongly associated with your administrative challenges will be the issues of developing documentation around processes and procedures. Keeping this documentation up-to-date can require a significant amount of time and resources.
Although a significant portion of the HIPAA regulation is focused on the protection of digital healthcare-related data, you must also create physical safeguards for data security.
The Benefits of Working with a Qualified HIPAA Compliance Consultant
Given the size and scope of the effort involved in achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance, many healthcare organizations (of all sizes) choose to engage a qualified HIPAA consultant. In a typical consulting engagement, some of the services you can expect include:
Auditing, Vulnerability Assessments & Mitigation
The performance of auditing services to capture precise data that will indicate both short and long-term strategies to minimize your risks.
Part of the consulting engagement may be the utilization of skilled engineers to implement security measures for your computer devices and equipment that house patient information.
Risk Management and Information Assurance
The consulting team may include specialists that will work to help build an overarching security framework to maintain a satisfactory level of infrastructure risk.
In preparation for the possibility that a breach does occur, your HIPAA consultant might work with you to develop a response plan.
eLearning and HIPAA Consultant Engagements
Given that employee training is a significant challenge for any organization looking to be HIPAA compliant, your consulting engagement might include a strategy for both the initial and ongoing awareness and training of your employees.
For this effort, the use of online learning or “eLearning” is often a cornerstone of the employee training component of HIPAA compliance as it is both fast and cost-effective. It also provides for a significant opportunity around data collection and reporting of HIPAA training activities.
An LMS for HIPAA Compliance Consultants and Healthcare Organizations
LMS Portals provides a cloud-based, multi-tenant learning management system (LMS) that allows our HIPAA consultant partners to launch and manage multiple private eLearning environments to support the employee training aspect of a HIPAA engagement. And each portal you launch can have its own branding, user onboarding, collaboration tools, analytics, and more.