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HIPAA Compliance Training for Employees

Health information is personal. Individuals want to have some control over who sees their health records and when so their private information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) aims to protect the confidentiality of patients’ sensitive medical information. Specifically, the HIPAA Privacy Rule and Security Rule establish national standards to protect certain health information from being disclosed without the patient’s knowledge or consent.

Covered entities are required to conduct HIPAA compliance training to ensure everyone that comes into contact with patient data understands and follows the Privacy Rule and Security Rule. 

HIPAA compliance training is essential to ensure employees understand how to protect the privacy of protected health information (PHI). Learn more about HIPAA compliance training requirements and best practices. 

What is HIPAA compliance training? 

If your organization works with protected health information, HIPAA compliance training helps team members understand how to properly safeguard it.

A HIPAA training course typically covers:

  • An overview of HIPAA, the Privacy Rule, the Security Rule, and Patients’ Rights
  • What health information is protected
  • Why HIPAA compliance is important
  • How to protect sensitive patient data 
  • How to report a data protection breach

Training course content will vary to meet the unique needs of each organization and team. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “The HIPAA Rules are flexible and scalable to accommodate the enormous range in types and sizes of entities that must comply with them. This means that there is no single standardized program that could appropriately train employees of all entities.” 

What are the requirements for HIPAA compliance and training?

Employees who handle protected health information at a covered entity or for one of their business associates must complete HIPAA compliance training. 

Covered entities include:

  • Healthcare providers
  • Health plans
  • Healthcare clearinghouses

Covered entities must adhere to the following HIPAA training requirements.

Onboarding

New team members must receive HIPAA training within a reasonable timeframe after being hired. 

A best practice is to include compliance training during your employee onboarding process to reduce the risk of a HIPAA violation.

Refresher training

Team members are required to receive periodic HIPAA refresher training, though there’s not a specified cadence you must adhere to. 

Annual refresher training is a best practice to keep team members informed of relevant changes to government regulations or internal practices and to keep medical record security and privacy top of mind.

Documentation

HIPAA training must be documented. Maintain a training record to prove that requirements have been met for necessary personnel.

How to use a learning management system (LMS) for HIPAA compliance training

A learning management system (LMS) enables healthcare organizations to produce, curate, distribute, and manage compliance training for their team members. Training requirements vary by organization and an LMS enables you to customize training for your team’s specific needs.

Begin by identifying the training requirements that apply to your organization and what your team members need to know to comply with HIPAA privacy and security regulations. Consider the technology your organization uses, your internal policies and procedures, and which team members handle protected health information.

Then create or curate course content in your learning platform tailored to your organization’s unique needs. Assess your training program regularly and update it as needed to address new government regulations or organizational changes.

Why is virtual HIPAA compliance training for employees most effective?

Virtual HIPAA compliance training meets your team members where they are, boosting engagement and making your program more effective. 

That’s because online HIPAA training enables:

  • A personalized learning experience. Every aspect of your HIPAA training program won’t apply to every one of your team members. The ability to mix and match modules will allow you to personalize a HIPAA training course for various roles and functions so your team members can focus on what’s relevant to them. 
  • Accessibility. Healthcare professionals are typically very busy and face high levels of stress—particularly in recent years. Virtual, asynchronous compliance training allows them to complete courses when and where it’s most convenient for them.
  • Various learning modalities. Everyone learns differently. Offering multimodal learning modalities—including video, audio, written, and live training—accommodates different learning styles.
  • Microlearning. Too much new information at once can be overwhelming and disengaging. In fact, the typical learner’s attention span wanes after 15 to 20 minutes. Break your HIPAA compliance training course into smaller modules to improve knowledge retention.
  • Flexibility to meet new training demands. HIPAA regulations and your organization’s technologies and procedures may change over time. Keep your team members up-to-date by rolling out revised training as needed.
  • Compliance tracking. Monitor your team members’ HIPAA training progress and track completions to maintain compliance, minimize corporate risk, and create audit trails.

The benefits of using a Learning Management System for HIPAA compliance training

Using a learning platform for compliance-based learning benefits your business and your team members. You’ll be able to build tailored training programs, pivot content as needed, and track completion rates to maintain HIPAA compliance. 

Your team members will appreciate the flexibility of asynchronous learning opportunities and a more personalized, engaging approach to compliance training. 

Using an All-in-One Learning Platform like WorkRamp lets you manage all of your compliance training in the same place. 

When using WorkRamp for HIPAA compliance training, you can:

  • Reduce corporate risk. Deploy compliance and other regulatory training and ensure on-time completion. 
  • Pass security and IT requirements: Complete IT reviews during implementation with SOC 2 Type II compliance, data encryption on transfer at rest, and SSO and SCIM compatibility.
  • Leverage a breadth of learning types: With guides, product tutorials, paths, certifications, events, libraries, challenges, and more, WorkRamp allows you to build comprehensive learning programs with numerous content tools to cater to multiple learning styles.
  • Meet access and accessibility needs: Allow learners to access their learning on whichever device they prefer (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.) and with the product accessibility accommodations they need.
  • Tap into expert prebuilt content: Access a fully-integrated content experience with off-the-shelf content curated for your regulatory needs from among the top compliance providers. 

Learn more about how WorkRamp can help you build effective training for team members. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo. 

Jen Dewar

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in HR technology, focusing on developing educational content for HR professionals and recruiters. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, lifelong learning and development, and treating people like people throughout candidate and employee experiences. Outside of work, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe, enjoying a glass of wine in Sonoma, or hanging out at home with her family.

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