If your company provides services within the healthcare industry that qualify it as a Business Associate (BA), the extra requirements of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules can actually work in your company’s favor. When your sales agents and account managers are able to speak to your company’s compliance efforts and data security, prospects are reassured that your organization values security as much as they do.
The regulatory requirements of HIPAA may seem burdensome. Documenting BAAs (Business Associate Agreements) with your Covered Entity clients is an extra step that incurs costs and requires effort from your team to maintain. But, if you look at the HIPAA requirements the right way, your BA status can actually be a marketing tool.
Demonstrate Compliance as a Differentiator
Your clients, HIPAA regulated Covered Entities (CEs) must also incur extra expense and spend extra effort to be sure they comply with the Security Rule. If you make the extra effort to demonstrate that you are proactively focused on compliance and you can make establishing a BAA a seamless process, you could gain an advantage over competitors in the eyes of prospective new clients.
Saves Clients Time and Money
When you demonstrate up front that you have a process to establish required BAAs and to help clients employ security and incident response plans that govern their relationship with your company, this alleviates their regulatory burden. This directly addresses a real need felt by your prospects and clients. Your marketing and sales teams can package your efforts in compliance as a time and cost savings for potential and repeat/renewing clients.
Reassures Clients That You Prioritize Compliance and Security
Covered Entity organizations must be diligent with their BA relationships when they are trusting their customers’ valuable data in your systems and in your employees’ hands. Reinforce for them your dedication to security as more than a grudging nod to minimal compliance and let them know you value their important data as much as they do.
How to Set Your Brand Apart
Many companies advertise “compliance certifications.” It is important to note, however, that there is no true certification that verifies compliance. HIPAA compliance is a journey, not a destination. Data, tools, and risks are constantly changing and expanding. Compliance is not achieved or even demonstrated at once, it is an ongoing, sustained effort. Demonstrate for your prospects and clients that you have systems in place to strive toward, maintain, and protect your compliance and theirs.
Risk Assessment Report for Prospects and Clients
Regular, thorough risk assessments are required for HIPAA compliance. Regulatory language does not specify how or how often these assessments must be conducted. The ambiguity of HIPAA may seem somewhat unfair but the flexibility is written into the regulation to allow your company to assess systems and risks specific to your current situation.
Working with qualified, experts to conduct regular assessments, you will be provided with a thorough report and action plan to improve security and compliance within your company. Our clients tell us often that our risk assessment reports are the most comprehensive and easy to understand that they have seen and the resulting plan provides a road map helping your company prioritize the risks and remediation steps you should and can reasonably take in the short, medium and long term. These reports can be pared down as necessary to provide just enough detail to succinctly demonstrate to clients and prospects that you are taking necessary steps to safeguard your data and theirs.
Incident Response Plan for Prospects and Clients
In addition to demonstrating the required risk assessment activity, you can reassure clients with a clear, actionable incident response plan that can be customized and integrated with their own. Presented with a comparable bid from a company with a vague (or no) plan to respond should a security incident arise or a data breach occur, your proactive approach will win the upper hand.
Clear Policies for Prospects and Clients
Finally, your clients will feel more secure knowing that you have comprehensive security procedures documented and followed by your employees who also receive thorough and ongoing security awareness training.
In the event of a breach or incident, you will be better prepared to respond with adequate planning and training. Regulatory fines and penalties levied by OCR, remediation difficulties, and even legal costs are exacerbated when BAs or CEs have failed to take appropriate steps to protect patient and customer data. Companies that can demonstrate that they have made every reasonable effort to be compliant and secure are looked on more leniently by regulators, the courts, and even the media. Reassuring your prospects and clients that you have taken the necessary steps proves to them that your company will be the best possible associate and partner.
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