HIPAA Online Training for Privacy and Security Rule Compliance

HIPAA online training for Privacy and Security Rule compliance enables covered entities and business associates to outsource the basic elements of a HIPAA training program to advance workforce understanding of HIPAA when they are trained on the policies and procedures specific to their functions.

Benefits of HIPAA Online Training

Developing your own training course from scratch can be very time consuming. You will need to develop a HIPAA training course that is geared to the needs of different employees for Privacy Rule compliance. You will then need to develop a security awareness training program for Security Rule compliance. You must then ensure you keep the training courses up to date to take into account any HIPAA updates and changes in best practices.

The costs and program management requirements of developing your own course can be mitigated by outsourcing foundation HIPAA training so that all members of the workforce have an understanding of HIPAA before being educated on the policies and procedures that apply to their roles. With an outsourced third-party training course, all of the basics are taken care of by the training provider, which allows you to put time, money, and effort into other important projects.

With third-party training, one option is to have a training company come to your place of work to provide the training. The problem with this option is you will need to make sure all employees are available at a set time to take the training course, which can cause major disruption to workflows. This may be a good option for a small practice or a vendor with a small workforce, but problems can arise – What happens if someone is off sick and misses the training? This option can also be prohibitively expensive.

Opting for HIPAA online training is often the better choice as it is far cheaper. The other major advantage is HIPAA online training is much easier to fit in with workflows. Whenever a member of staff has time free, they can access the training course on their computer. If you choose a modular training course, modules can be completed as and when employees have spare time. If there is an emergency, the training can simply be paused and the HIPAA online training course can be resumed at another time.

HIPAA online training will also allow you to easily see how far individuals have progressed with their training and who has completed their training course. Training is recorded for you and logs can be shown to regulators I the event of an audit.


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Online HIPAA training courses are

  • Easy to fit into busy workflows.
  • Can be completed whenever employees have a few minutes spare.
  • Much cheaper than having a third-party trainer visit your place of work.
  • Much cheaper than developing your own training course from scratch.
  • You will not have to update basic training when HIPAA Rules change.
  • Training courses will be updated to take new best practices into account.

Will Online HIPAA Training Courses Cover Everything?

Online HIPAA training courses will save you time and money and will help to ensure you remain compliant, but a training course will not cover everything. An online HIPAA training course will naturally not include any training material that is specific to your organization, such as your internal privacy and security policies or your procedures.

Some HIPAA online training courses have been developed to be flexible and will allow you to modify the training material or add extra content specific to your organization. That includes adding questions to end of module Q&As, or supplementing the course with your own slides and presentations.  These courses will save you considerable time and effort and can easily be adapted to match your internal policies and procedures.

Also look for a training course that provides some kind of documentation or certification that training has been completed and that records employees’ legal attestations that they have received HIPAA training, understood it, and agree to apply the training at work.

Suggested Course Content

When it comes to HIPAA training, a one-size-fits-all approach is not recommended. The training that a member of the admin staff needs will be different to the training required by a nurse or physician. Training should be tailored to the role of each individual in the organization.

This is where modular online HIPAA training courses are useful. The entire training course may be appropriate for some individuals, but modular courses allow you to simply select the appropriate modules for each job role. This will keep the time spent training to a minimum to avoid disruption to workflows and is especially useful for conducting refresher training.

Some of the important online HIPAA training modules that should be included in any training course are detailed below:

  • HIPAA overview.
  • HIPAA definitions & terminology.
  • Main HIPAA regulatory rules.
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule.
  • HIPAA Security Rule.
  • HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule.
  • The HITECH Act.
  • HIPAA patient rights.
  • HIPAA PHI disclosure rules.
  • HIPAA violation consequences.
  • Preventing HIPAA violations.
  • Patient authorizations.
  • Business associate agreements.
  • HIPAA and social media.
  • HIPAA and emergency situations.
  • The Role of the HIPAA officer.

For security awareness training for HIPAA Security Rule compliance:

  • Threats to patient data.
  • Malware and ransomware.
  • How to identify phishing and social engineering threats.
  • Email security.
  • Web security.
  • Protecting PHI from cyber threats.
  • Personal devices and removable media.
  • Public WiFi network security.
  • Secure file sharing.
  • Use of unauthorized software, hardware, and apps.
  • Insider threats.
  • Physical security.
  • Reporting HIPAA violations.
  • Cybersecurity best practices.

HIPAA Online Training FAQs

Who within an organization is responsible for preparing and conducting HIPAA training?

In most cases, the HIPAA Privacy Officer and HIPAA Security Officer share responsibility for HIPAA training, although this does not mean they will prepare and conduct it. Many organizations outsource some or all of their employees´ HIPAA training to specialist compliance agencies.

Does every member of staff have to undergo the same training?

HIPAA training should be designed to be relevant to each individual´s role. Therefore, although there may be elements of the Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules that are common across many different roles, you wouldn´t provide the same training for (say) a midwife as you would for a computer systems engineer.

How regularly should risk assessments be conducted to determine training requirements?

Any time there is a change of processes or technology, organizations should at least consider whether or not the change impacts HIPAA compliance. The answer should be documented; and, if there is a likelihood of the change impacting HIPAA compliance, a risk assessment should be conducted to determine whether HIPAA training on the change of process or technology is required.

Do Business Associates have to conduct as much training as Covered Entities?

Business Associates have the same HIPAA training obligations as Covered Entities to enable members of the workforce to perform work duties in a HIPAA-compliant manner. However, while the training obligations remain the same, the content of the training only needs to be relevant to individuals´ roles. It is likely a Business Associate will have a less diverse workforce than a Covered Entity, and therefore simpler training requirements.

How long do copies of training courses have to be retained?

All HIPAA-related documentation has to be retained for six years since it was last used. Therefore, if you developed a training course in 2014, and didn´t refresh it until 2018, the original training course has to be retained until 2024. The same applies to risk assessments (which should be reviewed every year regardless of if any processes or technologies have changed) and any documentation explaining a decision made on the basis of a risk analysis.

About Liam Johnson
Liam Johnson has produced articles about HIPAA for several years. He has extensive experience in healthcare privacy and security. With a deep understanding of the complex legal and regulatory landscape surrounding patient data protection, Liam has dedicated his career to helping organizations navigate the intricacies of HIPAA compliance. Liam focusses on the challenges faced by healthcare providers, insurance companies, and business associates in complying with HIPAA regulations. Liam has been published in leading healthcare publications, including The HIPAA Journal. Liam was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The HIPAA Guide in 2023. Contact Liam via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/liamhipaa/