How long does HIPAA training take? Basic HIPAA training can be provided in a session of up to an hour, although training can take considerably longer depending on the role of an individual in the organization, their likely interactions with patients and protected health information (PHI), and the extent to which cybersecurity training needs to be provided. In this post we will explain how long HIPAA training takes and the different factors to consider when developing a training course for the workforce.
Length of Basic HIPAA Training Courses
For many employees in healthcare, basic HIPAA training may be sufficient. Basic training should cover the key provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the importance of HIPAA compliance, what is and how to safeguard PHI, allowable uses and disclosures of PHI, and the sanctions that will be imposed if the HIPAA Rules are violated.
Basic HIPAA training is concerned with educating the workforce about HIPAA and how this important legislative act applies to the role of each individual in the organization. It is useful to provide basic HIPAA training to the entire workforce and additional job-specific training based on employee roles.
There is no mention about the length of training sessions in the HIPAA text but around an hour should be sufficient.
Advanced HIPAA Training
Certain roles in the organization will require more extensive HIPAA training. This is especially true for individuals that have extensive interactions with patients, such as nurses. Interactions with patients and their PHI need not be face to face. Staff members responsible for responding to patient queries via the website or email will need to be provided with more extensive training on the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s uses and disclosures and patient rights. Basic and advanced training is likely to take up to 2 hours, plus additional time for security awareness training.
Since it can be difficult for people to maintain focus and absorb information, training sessions should be kept fairly short and no more than an hour per session. This will help to ensure employees remain attentive and can retain the information provided. Consider breaking up training sessions into smaller chunks. 3 x 40-minute training sessions or 2 hour-long sessions will be better than one 2-hour session. This should also make it easier to fit in training into busy workflows.
In certain states, in addition to providing training on HIPAA, it is also necessary to provide training on state health information privacy laws, Texas being a notable example. Healthcare organizations that provide healthcare services to Texas residents must provide training to the workforce on Texas HB 300, with HB 300 training tailored to each role in an organization. Texas HB 300 training can be provided as an additional training session after HIPAA training has been provided.
Security Awareness Training
In addition to providing HIPAA Privacy Rule training, the HIPAA Security Rule requires healthcare employees to be provided with security awareness training. The purpose of security awareness training is to teach cybersecurity and physical security best practices and to raise awareness of the threats to PHI that employees are likely to encounter. Healthcare employees are often targeted via phishing attacks, where social engineering techniques are used to trick employees into disclosing sensitive information or installing malware. It is important to train employees how to recognize phishing and social engineering scams, with more extensive cybersecurity training provided to employees who are most at risk.
HIPAA and security awareness training should be provided to employees within a reasonable amount of time after a person joins the workforce, with further training provided whenever there is a material change in policies or procedures or updates to the HIPAA Rules. Refresher training sessions should also be provided on HIPAA, with the best practice being a refresher training session annually. Security awareness refresher training should be provided more frequently due to the extent that healthcare employees are targeted and the rapidly evolving tactics, techniques, and procedures of hackers. Twice yearly training sessions are the best practice to help develop a security culture.