Institutions that manage and handle private and important information from people must comply with safety and security guidelines to keep information safe. Failing to comply with these regulations could result in fines, suspensions, and, in some cases, criminal penalties. Different regulations fall into place depending on the main practices of various institutions. Understanding the differences between HIPAA and FERPA will help you achieve better practices and pay special attention to regulations. Hospitals and schools are two of the main institutions that must deal closely with HIPAA and FERPA regulations because they work with people’s detailed information on health and education. Keeping sensitive information safe and private will help your business improve productivity and maintain a clean line of work.
What Is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act works to protect the health-related information of patients and workers. This information is essential to provide better service and keep constant updates about changes in health and certain conditions. Institutions must comply with safety and security guidelines to protect this information from attacks and misguidance. Federal laws protect this information, meaning severe consequences could unfold if companies don’t treat it with care. Only certain people have access to this information, and only the patient can consent to whom they share the information.
The information addressed in the accountability act is personal details that only authorized personnel can handle. The information includes complete name, date of birth, address, social security number, and medical records. This last one is an essential piece of information that you can ask for only if necessary. Institutions that require this type of information are health-care providers, care plans, caregivers, and business associates. These institutions can build resilient trust between patients and handlers by complying with federal and state laws.
Institutions need to keep personal information safe from different types of attacks, like cyberattacks, leaks of information, theft of equipment, and incorrect disposal of files. Paying special attention to these actions will prevent problems and keep processes working correctly. Confidentiality is essential because it will make a patient feel safe and valued and can prevent problems such as identity theft and fraud. There are different areas where institutions must pay special attention to this, and with the help of professionals, avoiding unwanted situations is possible.
With technology moving quickly, new software has developed an efficient medical record tracking system that will maintain confidentiality at its prime, with online security and constant updates. This program is easy to install with the help of professionals, and they will provide you with the necessary preparation for its use. Most institutions are switching to digital management because it will provide better and more secure management while keeping information private.
What Is FERPA?
FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which manages and protects educational information from different clients. Students’ information contains personal data that institutions must keep safe to avoid penalties and breaking federal laws. Educational information begins at an early age, meaning parents or guardians will have access to private information until the main client reaches the age of 18. For some institutions, educational information is essential to prove the existence of valid qualifications, experience, and preparation for specific tasks surrounding a job or function.
Similar to the information found in the insurance and accountability act, FERPA contains details like date of birth, social security number, full name, and educational records. This gives students and prospects the ability to have control over their records and consent to disclose personal information. The institution responsible for following the federal guidelines and complying with the law are elementary and secondary schools, high schools, and universities. Every step of a person’s life is on record, and putting them in a digital form makes it easier to access and handle them.
Failing to comply with security guidelines will result in fines and sometimes charges to the institution in charge of the educational documents. These violations include disclosing academic information with anyone other than the students or their parents, withholding important information, or exposing a student’s grades without their consent in public areas. Some violations might seem inoffensive, but anything that goes against the code of conduct will have serious consequences. School employees must have the right preparation and knowledge to deal with different situations and not compromise confidential information.
Differences Between HIPAA and FERPA
The main differences between HIPAA and FERPA are the type of information they manage and how disclosing details could affect the parties involved. Both acts must comply with federal laws to protect detailed information, each dealing with different data about a person’s life. Fines, penalties, and federal charges are the most common forms of punishment that institutions will receive, and they run the risk of losing their licenses. Effectively managing this information will add value to a business and improve routine processes.
The department of health and human services is in charge of enforcing the rules to ensure that institutions follow guidelines and regulations. With these guidelines, the department will check for filed complaints and compliance reviews to ensure everything is working properly. Institutions must also submit themselves to inspections when someone files a complaint. For violations, the fees imposed will vary depending on the severity of the situation, the institution’s size, and the extent of the violation. These violations could range from 100 to 50,000 dollars per violation, but they could also go up depending on the results of an investigation.
HIPAA and FERPA have a list of common violations that happen due to misinformation, poor handling of documentation, and avoiding certain rules. For HIPAA, the most common violations are disclosure of important information, lack of electronic protection for online documents, and restricted patient access to their own information. For FERPA, the institutions in charge of educational records, sharing personal information is one of the main problems. These problems include emailing students’ information to unauthorized people, including private information, like social security numbers, on shared documents, and disclosing a school athlete’s academic records. It’s essential to work with institutions that understand and know how to handle important information to avoid any problems. Prepared staff and software programs will help keep data protected.