Should Your Healthcare Organization Rely on Free HIPAA Training?

HIPAA training can be found in a lot of places, but not all HIPAA training is created equal. 

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As the manager of a healthcare organization, one of your top priorities is ensuring your employees understand what’s expected of them in terms of HIPAA compliance.

To make this happen, you’ll want to provide your workers with numerous opportunities to enhance their knowledge of HIPAA-related rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. Luckily, the internet is full of free resources your employees can use to learn more about HIPAA laws and how they are affected by such.

However, while free resources may provide a decent overview of HIPAA rules and regulations, you’ll eventually want to invest in paid trainings to ensure your employees gain a more complete understanding of the laws that govern their professional duties.

Before we discuss the advantages of paid HIPAA trainings, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the trainings you can find for free via the internet.

What Can Free HIPAA Training Provide?

The internet is an incredible resource for finding free HIPAA trainings. Most of these trainings provide foundational information regarding HIPAA laws, compliance protocol, and implications of non-compliance.

Most free HIPAA trainings stick to the basics of the laws and regulations surrounding Protected Health Information (PHI). Employees attending free trainings can expect to learn:

  • Why HIPAA exists.
  • What information HIPAA applies to.
  • Who must abide by HIPAA laws.

Free trainings may also discuss:

  • How an organization must go about maintaining compliance.
  • How individuals must go about maintaining compliance.
  • Actions that must be taken by certain personnel in the event of a compliance breach.

Finally, most free trainings will provide information regarding what happens in the event of a breach. This information may include the detrimental effects a breach has on a patient/victim, as well as the penalties and sanctions that can be levied against personnel or an entire organization that caused the breach.

Free HIPAA trainings can be a valuable asset to those just beginning their careers in a healthcare-related field, as well as those stepping into managerial positions within a healthcare organization.

However, such free trainings also have a number of drawbacks, as well.

Where Free HIPAA Trainings Fall Short

You may be familiar with the phrase “you get what you pay for.”

This can be especially true when it comes to free HIPAA trainings.

It’s not that such trainings aren’t helpful; we’ve already established what they are good for.

But relying solely on free HIPAA trainings won’t get your employees – or your organization – very far, for a number of reasons.

Most importantly, the free trainings you find via the internet might not provide accurate and up-to-date information. Such free trainings may or may not legally need to certify the information they provide, so you and your employees have no way of knowing whether the information given is correct.

Similarly, free trainings likely won’t count toward an individual employee’s continuing education hours. This isn’t to say that those in the healthcare profession should view professional development only in terms of credit hours. But if they’re going to spend the time to further their knowledge about HIPAA rules and regulations, they should get the credit they deserve for doing so.

As alluded to earlier, most free HIPAA trainings will only provide “surface-level” information to attendees. While this information might be beneficial to those just entering the healthcare field, experienced healthcare professionals don’t stand to gain much from it.

Lastly, most free HIPAA trainings don’t offer much in the form of “extras.” They lack individualized instruction, and offer no way for employees to track their progress or log their training hours.

Though free HIPAA trainings can provide a decent amount of information for those getting started in the healthcare industry and those in need of a refresher, paid trainings offer your organization much greater opportunities to further their understanding of HIPAA laws.

How Your Organization Can Benefit from Paid HIPAA Trainings

Paid HIPAA trainings offer everything you’d get from free trainings – and then some.

To begin with, the information provided through paid trainings is much more in-depth than that which you’d find from any free trainings.

In addition to information regarding the overarching issues regarding HIPAA compliance, paid trainings dive deep into the nuances and intricacies of the law. Because of this, your employees stand to gain a more complete understanding of HIPAA rules and regulations.

The way in which information is provided is much more user-friendly in paid trainings, as well.

Rather than simply offering a collection of videos and reading material, paid trainings are interactive and individualized, allowing users to take ownership of their learning.

Paid trainings also offer assessments and feedback to help individuals track their learning and understand where they might need to learn a bit more.

Once purchased, many paid training services provide one-on-one assistance for individuals who have questions or problems regarding either HIPAA-related information or the training’s interface.

Paid trainings are differentiated and scalable, as well.

Paid training providers offer various levels of service to accommodate small organizations that are just beginning to grow as well as larger organizations that have been in business for years. If you run a smaller company, you can always upgrade your service as your operation continues to scale upward.

Using a paid training service, your employees can easily keep track of their progress as they complete lessons and assessments.

Furthermore, as the manager, you’ll be able to see this information, as well. This makes it much easier to know who needs to do what in order for the organization as a whole to remain HIPAA compliant.

Upon completion of trainings and assessments, learners will be provided with certificates that prove not just that they have gone through a certain number of professional development hours, but that they truly understand the specifics of HIPAA law.

Though paid HIPAA trainings involve a monetary investment on the part of your organization, you’ll save time and energy that would be spent tracking your employees’ progress, researching and answering deeper questions, and providing overall support had you opted for free trainings.

Conclusion

When it comes to educating your employees with regard to HIPAA laws, both free and paid trainings certainly have their merits.

However, as you’ll eventually want to provide a deeper level of instruction to your employees anyway, you might want to invest in paid trainings from the get-go.

Along with the additional information paid trainings provide, your employees will also get an overall better experience than they would from simply watching free videos and reading open-source documents.

Check out how Accountable’s training program can help your organization gain a better understanding of HIPAA laws, and help you ensure compliance throughout your company.