Behind closed doors -- a weekly HIPAA message

picture disc.HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. You will be receiving weekly messages to help you understand the topic and how it impacts your job. Today's HIPAA exercise asks you to assess the security of the restricted areas you work in.

If there are restricted areas around you where only your co-workers should be, are they secure?

Some things to think about:

  • Are there sufficient barriers such as keypad locks or access-card locks on the doors? Could an unauthorized person easily enter this area?
  • Are doors that should be locked propped open sometimes?
  • Do authorized personnel let others in -- either by opening the door or by sharing the access code -- without ensuring that the others are authorized?
  • What can you do to correct these shortfalls?

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If you're a manager, please ensure all of your employees are informed of the contents of these messages and how it applies to your work area. Some ways of sharing the information include discussions during staff meetings, printing and posting this message or asking your employees if they have any further questions.