Staying compliant with HIPAA and other regulations on EHR is important for every chiropractic clinic.
You can help yourself improve your own compliance and stay compliant by following these steps and tips. Keep in mind, though, that the best way to ensure compliance may very well be making sure you connect with an attorney or other compliance expert.
Be sure to seek out professional compliance advice as needed. If you are diligent about complying with applicable regulations, you will likely reduce your own headaches with governmental regulation and ensure that you can accomplish more as a clinic.
Keep reading to discover how you can protect yourself and your practice. As you implement these ideas, keep in mind that compliance is an active and ongoing process, not a final destination. As regulations change, you need to keep up with these changes. Keeping your entire office updated is important, too.
Your colleagues and staff members should know what the latest regulations are and how to apply them.
Step #1: Train thoroughly, regularly and accurately on compliance “do’s and don’ts.”
Preventing a lot of common compliance problems may be as simple as getting the right training. Learn about what HIPAA requires of you and anyone working in or partnering with your office.
To start, you need to find out how to correctly use EHR and what is explicitly forbidden. For instance, using EHR to satisfy personal curiosity about a local celebrity patient is not a good use of EHR. Private patient information should be protected and only used under specific, need-to-know circumstances.
You may need to offer training, too, and help your employees stay updated on compliance issues. There are specific rules on devices used to access patient records and use EHR, which is just one aspect of how HIPAA rules govern their use.
Step #2: Understand how regulations on medical necessity and billing apply.
Learn about review policies, reimbursement and medical necessity rules for the insurers you accept reimbursement from. This can help you with another side of the compliance equation-how insurers regulate the billing process and determine coverage for individuals.
This can impact your documentation practices, so even doctors who are not actively responsible for billing should be familiar with how these policies impact their practices.
Step #3: Have clear, upfront and honest goals for what your EHR will (or should) accomplish.
Having an implementation plan and ideas for tracking your progress along the way may help you avoid costly mistakes, distractions, and other challenges as you move forward with any new EHR system or any EHR changes and upgrades.
Step #4: Designate compliance leaders and provide a point-of-contact for struggling EHR users in your office.
If someone is particularly great with EHR, having them work with and personally coach people in your office who struggle with EHR can help improve compliance in your office.
You can also choose a ‘head of compliance’ in your office who can regularly provide training or updates, be a resource and communicate with your EHR vendor and with partnering organizations that request access to your data.
Step #5: Reach out for help if you need it.
Struggling with EHR and compliance at your office? Reaching out for help to your colleagues, vendor, compliance consultants, or others can help you problem-solve and figure out a way around challenges you encounter.
With what you know about compliance now, you may want to take stock of the current compliance situation at your clinic. How are you doing? How are your staff doing? What are your areas of strength, weakness and challenge?
From there, you can decide how much you need to do to address each problem. Look carefully for ways to measure improvement as you go, too.
- “5 Things to Know About Compliance.” Chirotouch Blog. https://www.chirotouch.com/2017/11/5-things-know-compliance/. Accessed: February 2018.