Updated: Feb 27
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was introduced in 1996 and represents a landmark piece of legislation that was designed to guard against healthcare fraud and ensure that all ‘protected health information’ (PHI) is appropriately protected. It also restricts access of health data to authorized individuals.
The extensive training requirements associated with HIPAA can be a source of confusion as many organizations are left wondering how HIPAA applies to them and what areas of HIPAA training they need to provide to their employees. And unfortunately, HIPAA only provides some of the answers to these questions. In fact, many believe that HIPAA leaves a lot open to interpretation. To add to the confusion, HIPAA’s Privacy Rule and HIPAA’s Security Rule each have their own unique training requirements.
What are HIPAA’s Training Requirements?
HIPAA training is required for any employee who deals with protected health information (PHI) in any way. This includes doctors, dentists, nurses, administrators, receptionists and part-time employees/interns and more. Employees in areas such as information management, network administration, or regulatory compliance staff members, may require more extensive and specialized training.
Under HIPAA, organizations are required to provide training for all new employees and then provide periodic refresher training. And while “periodic” is not defined, many healthcare organizations tend to run refresher courses annually (if not more frequently) as this is considered to be a best practice. Regulations are updated on a yearly basis, so all practices must stay current with the changes as failure to do so can lead to breaches, resulting in significant penalties and fines.
While HIPAA doesn’t stipulate any particular length for training, the guidance and assumption is that an organization’s training program will effectively present thorough and complete content.
What is a HIPAA Training Certification?
While many different companies offer private certifications in HIPAA compliance, these certifications are not approved by the federal government or any overseeing agency. Given that, the value of achieving HIPAA training certification may be limited and is entirely dependent on the quality of the training program.
Generally speaking, there are four different types of HIPAA certifications:
Privacy and Security Awareness Training
This certification program is one of the few that the federal government oversees. All Department of Health and Human Resources employees and contractors are required to complete this training annually. This training encompasses cyber security awareness, along with role-based training for executives, IT administrators, and supervisors. This training addresses, but is not limited to, HIPAA compliance.
Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP)
This certification program introduces the basics of HIPAA compliance along with the background and objectives of the regulation. This training is ideal for healthcare employees who access PHI. There are broad applications for this certification as healthcare providers, administrative staff, executives, and IT staff can all benefit from it.
Certified HIPAA Administrator (CHA)
This certification is more detailed and expansive as it is meant for those employees who deliver or oversee the delivery of healthcare services (such as nurses and hospital administrators). This certification covers data privacy compliance and concentrates on how the HIPAA legislation impacts patients as well as the sharing of their sensitive information.
Certified HIPAA Security Specialist (CHSS)
To achieve this certification, applicants must already have obtained a Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP) certification. This training reviews the technical facets of HIPAA compliance, such as security standards and practices, as well as the storage and management of electronic medical records. This certification typically pertains to IT employees working in the healthcare field.
The Benefits of Online HIPAA Training Certification
As online technologies have continued to evolve, many healthcare organizations have brought their HIPAA training in-house and made online training or “eLearning” the cornerstone of their HIPAA training programs.
In building their online HIPAA training programs, many organizations are able to simply re-purpose HIPAA training content they have developed over the years and supplement this content with third-party training materials.
Some of the benefits of eLearning for HIPAA training certification include:
eLearning (done in-house) reduces or eliminates many of the expenses associated with classroom-based or outsourced training methods, such as travel, instructor and venue fees, catering, and the distribution of printed training materials. And with eLearning, there is no lost productivity cost as your workers can conduct their learning activities during breaks or after hours.
Unlike classroom-based training, eLearning activities can be accomplished at any time and from any location that offers Internet access (in fact, many eLearning activities can even be accomplished offline). This level of convenience can improve the program experience for students and instructors, as well as program administrators.
One of the unfortunate challenges of in-person, classroom-based HIPAA certification training is that the students must all be able to learn at a pace set by the instructor. Effective eLearning takes into consideration the fact that students may have different learning styles and prefer to learn at their own pace and may want to revisit important or challenging content multiple times before moving on to the next section.
Communication and Collaboration
Many eLearning platforms now include tools that enable online communication among students as well as between students and instructors. These tools help to drive and support a more productive learning experience and can streamline the program feedback process.
eLearning provides an easy way to collect data regarding the engagement and success of your HIPAA training certification program. The analysis of this data can be extremely valuable as you work to revise and improve your program over time.
LMS Portals for HIPAA Training Certification
LMS Portals provides a cloud-based platform for HIPAA training certification on your own branded eLearning portal. Our clients utilize our platform to quickly and easily develop and deliver training content while leveraging powerful supporting tools, such as online communication, reporting, knowledge management, and more.
Contact us to discuss running your Online HIPAA Training Certification
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