When you discuss HIPAA compliance in the healthcare industry, it is essential to also address cost. As the number of healthcare information existing in the cloud increases, so does the threat of breach or cyberattacks. Even though technological advancements have dramatically improved procedures and processes for business across all industries, they also come with consequences, and the healthcare industry is no exception. This is why HIPAA compliance is important. However, why are HIPAA compliance audits important and how much do they cost? Let’s find out.
Why does HIPAA compliance audit matter?
Healthcare organizations are uniquely positioned to face even greater cybersecurity threats or internal breaches, as they maintain valuable patient information. Vendors, also known as business associates providing services to healthcare systems, are also at risk of data being stolen or compromised and now face the need to secure their system and devices. So, what should these vendors and healthcare providers do to protect themselves and their customers from a data breach? One of the most constructive ways that organizations in the healthcare industry are taking to secure patient data is by performing HIPAA compliance audits.
Costs associated with a HIPAA compliance audit
A HIPAA compliance audit, whether done internally or by a third-party vendor, can help you identify gaps within your organization, but they can cost a lot. In fact, the cost of a HIPAA compliance audit is often the sole reason preventing many organizations from even considering undergoing an audit.
The cost associated with a HIPAA compliance audit can be divided into two broad categories – direct costs and indirect costs.
The direct cost may include a HIPAA gap assessment, which is often the starting point where gaps are identified and remediation plans. This can cost between $20,000 – $30,000.
After a gap assessment, many organizations may decide to undergo a full HIPAA audit. It is meant to assess an organization against all the HIPAA Security Rule requirements. It typically includes assessing the physical security measures, technical settings and configurations, and administrative requirements, such as employee training and business associate agreements. The direct cost involved in this process can be between $20,000 – $50,000.
Next comes the indirect costs, which are harder to quantify. The biggest factor to consider in indirect cost is the time required of valuable internal resources (i.e., staff). The indirect costs for each type of above-mentioned audits increase as you move down the list. Not only do employees have to participate in the audit process, but they are also required to make modifications and improvements to various processes along the way.
Overall, the cost of a HIPAA compliance audit is directly proportional to the size, infrastructure, etc. of an organization. A larger organization means more employees, more processes, and more PHI stored in the system, all of which contribute to the cost of HIPAA compliance. Alternatively, a HIPAA compliance audit could cost more for smaller organizations due to limited time and resources.
HIPAA compliance is not a one-time-only process
With HIPAA Ready, you can drastically reduce your HIPAA compliance audit costs. Besides, even after successfully passing a HIPAA compliance audit, there is no guarantee that your organization will be exempt from further risks. Ensuring HIPAA compliance requires making continuous efforts, which may seem an arduous process. However, with HIPAA Ready, you will be able to perform regular audits without having to worry about costs while reducing administrative burdens and complexities.
It is also important to note that there is no legally recognized HIPAA compliance certification award and the cost of a single HIPAA violation can easily exceed the cost of a HIPAA compliance audit. To make sure you are continuously maintaining compliance with all the HIPAA regulations, you can make use of HIPAA Ready. This is a software that combines all compliance management modules into a single centralized platform and lets you streamline your compliance efforts. To know more about how you can ensure compliance at the lowest cost possible, leave a comment below.