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Top Examples Of HIPAA Violations You Should Know

HIPAA violations

Consequences for HIPAA violations can often be quite harsh. If someone has breached the HIPAA privacy regulations without any malicious intent, civil penalties are applicable: $100 per violation for unawareness, a minimum of $1,000 for reasonable cause, a minimum of $10,000 if willful neglect is present and then rectified, and finally a minimum of $50,000 for individuals who act with willful neglect and ignore the issue. It is important to stay up to date on these changes; the costs of disregarding HIPAA regulations may be higher than you expect.

Violation of health data privacy laws is no laughing matter. It’s an issue that should be taken with utmost seriousness as these laws were created to protect individuals from having their or their patient’s sensitive information misused or exploited. The consequences of breaking the law can be harsh, ranging from manageable fines to hefty sums of money and jail time. To avoid such calamities, it is imperative to stay informed and compliant with the regulations enforced and you can visit netsec. news/HIPAA-compliance-checklist. Here are some HIPAA violation examples as follows.


Encryption is a critical tool in protecting PHI data from falling into the wrong hands. To prevent this from happening, healthcare organizations should use encrypted messaging applications and add a layer of cybersecurity. This helps ensure that any communication containing patient information is secure and only accessible by authorized personnel. 


Hacking is a legitimate threat that could result in HIPAA violations if not prevented properly. To combat this risk, healthcare organizations should keep anti-virus software up-to-date and regularly change passwords according to company policy. This creates an additional layer of security that hackers may find difficult to penetrate. Additionally, employee training sessions on cyber threats should also be conducted regularly. 

Unauthorized Access 

Unauthorized access by employees (or anyone else) should be prevented through an authorization system and written consent for disclosing any PHI information not used for healthcare operations or payments. This ensures that patient data remains protected from anyone who does not have permission to view it. It also helps ensure compliance with regulations such as HIPAA which require written consent before sharing PHI outside of authorized personnel.  

Device Loss/Theft 

Loss or theft of devices must be avoided with encryption safeguards; Lifespan’s 2017 incident serves as a reminder of how serious these cases can become if proper precautions are not taken beforehand. All devices containing PHI data should be encrypted to prevent unauthorized access in the event they are lost or stolen; passwords should also be changed regularly according to company policy here too.  

Confidential Information Sharing 

Sharing confidential information must only take place behind closed doors with authorized personnel; social engineering tactics employed by hackers make it important to remain vigilant against potential breaches in security protocols here too. Organizations should implement policies that prohibit sharing confidential information over unsecured networks (e.g., public Wi-Fi). Additionally, all email communications related to patient data must adhere strictly to HIPAA guidelines regarding encryption & authentication requirements as well as other best practices such as strong password management & two-factor authentication whenever possible. 

Proper Disposal:

Proper disposal of unneeded PHI documents/files both physically & digitally is necessary; accessing them from unsecured locations (such as personal computers) might have disastrous consequences due to malware downloads & other malicious activities targeting hospitals specifically. Organizations should ensure that all digital files are deleted permanently using safe file shredding techniques; physical documents should be shredded & disposed of properly too.  

 Disclosure of PHI Without Authorization

Another common HIPAA violation is the disclosure of PHI without authorization. This can occur when an individual who is not authorized to view PHI discloses it to another individual. For example, if a doctor discloses a patient’s medical information to a friend or family member without the patient’s permission, this would be considered a violation.

Lack of Security Measures:

The lack of adequate security measures is another common HIPAA violation. Healthcare organizations must ensure that all necessary steps have been taken to protect patient data, such as encrypting sensitive information and using multi-factor authentication. They must also regularly monitor their security systems for any potential threats or vulnerabilities and take immediate action to address them if needed. This can lead to data breaches and other security incidents that could put patient information at risk.

 Lack of Training

HIPAA also requires covered entities to provide training to their employees on how to comply with the law. However, many covered entities fail to do so, which can lead to employees being unaware of their responsibilities under HIPAA. This can then lead to employees committing violations without realizing it.

Failing to Follow Procedures

HIPAA requires covered entities to have procedures in place for handling PHI. However, many covered entities fail to follow these procedures, which can lead to mistakes being made that could put patient information at risk. For example, if a covered entity fails to properly dispose of PHI, this could lead to the information being accessed by unauthorized individuals.

 Retaliation Against Employees

HIPAA prohibits covered entities from retaliating against employees who report HIPAA violations or participate in investigations into potential violations. However, many covered entities do retaliate against employees who engage in such activities

Final Thoughts:

Protecting your organization’s PHI is essential for maintaining compliance with laws such as HIPAA and avoiding costly penalties associated with privacy violations or data breaches. Taking proactive steps such as encrypting messages and devices containing sensitive patient information can help mitigate risks posed by potential cyberattacks or unauthorized access by employees or outsiders alike. Implementing regular training sessions on cyber security threats can also help create awareness among staff members while providing useful insights into new trends & techniques employed by malicious actors these days.

With the right mix of technological solutions & organizational policies put in place – coupled with strict adherence thereto – healthcare organizations can greatly reduce their chances of experiencing a breach in their system’s security protocols at any given time. Keep these tips in mind when designing your organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure so you can continue protecting your patients’ health pieces of information without fear.

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