In recent years, HIPAA compliance in the dental industry has gained the same level of importance as that of medical organizations. In terms of Protected Health Information (PHI), dental practices are held to the same standard as the rest of the medical community and must adhere to the same level of privacy and security when it pertains to patient information. HIPAA rules regarding patient privacy, security, and breach notification fully apply to a dental practice if it is considered a “covered entity” under HIPAA.
Dental practices that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA need to take the necessary steps to comply with all of the required regulations. These steps include:
- Appointing a HIPAA Privacy Official
- Appointing a HIPAA Security Official
- Creating a HIPAA compliance team
- Perform risk analysis
- Train workforce members (staff & employees)
- Develop policies and procedures
- Maintain ongoing compliance measures
An offices policies and procedures are an essential part to complying with HIPAA regulations. Dental practices should review their privacy and security policies, and alter areas that don’t meet with HIPAA regulations. HIPAA privacy regulations provide patients rights over their health information, including dental and billing records. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) patients have privacy rights to :
- Ask for a change in their records
- Ask a health care provider not to disclose their information
- Ask a healthcare provider to communicate with them confidentially, at an alternative location or by alternative means The healthcare provider is required to accommodate reasonable requests.
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