Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

HIPAA Security Awareness

A customizable HIPAA Security Awareness Training course to guide employees in safeguarding Protected Health Information (PHI).

Learning Time
Employees and Contractors
25-30 minutes
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About this course

The HIPAA Security Awareness Training course provides an understanding of HIPAA regulations, focusing on their applications at work. The course also helps employees understand the importance of safeguarding Protected Health Information (PHI) through real-world case studies. In addition, best practices for protecting PHI and reporting security breaches are covered.

Section 1: HIPAA Security Breaches – Real Case Studies

This section covers real-world case studies of breaches related to the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rule. Further, these case studies help employees understand the importance of safeguarding Protected Health Information (PHI) and the potential consequences of non-compliance.


Section 2: Introduction to HIPAA

This section provides employees with an introduction to HIPAA, focusing on its key components. They will understand the fundamentals of HIPAA, including the definition of Protected Health Information (PHI), Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI), their examples, the HIPAA Security & Privacy Rule, and the significance of safeguarding PHI.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA Security & Privacy Rule

What is PHI?

Examples of PHI

What is ePHI?

Why is protecting PHI important?


Section 3: Protecting ePHI

This section consists of six scenario-based challenges based on the best practices in protecting ePHI.

Safeguarding ePHI while working remotely

Securing access credentials to protect ePHI

Safe internet browsing practices to protect ePHI

Securing ePHI while using emails and collaboration platforms

Protecting ePHI while Using AI Apps

Secure storage and transfer of ePHI


Section 4: Reporting Security Breaches 

This section includes examples of HIPAA security breaches and guides employees on effectively reporting such incidents.

What is a security breach?

Examples of security breaches

How to report a security breach?


Section 5: Summary and Assessment

This section wraps up the key points covered in the course, followed by an assessment.



Frequently Asked Questions


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 is a federal law in the United States established to protect patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. It sets national standards for the protection of individually identifiable health information, ensuring the privacy and security of patient data.

Protected Health Information (PHI) under HIPAA includes any information in a medical record or other health information that can be used to identify an individual and that was created, received, maintained, or transmitted by a covered entity or business associate in the provision of healthcare, payment for healthcare services, or healthcare operations. PHI includes any form or medium, including oral, written, and electronic information.

The main components of HIPAA are the Privacy Rule, the Security Rule, and the Breach Notification Rule. The Privacy Rule protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information, the Security Rule sets standards for securing electronic-Protected Health Information (ePHI), and the Breach Notification Rule requires covered entities and business associates to notify affected individuals, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and in some cases, the media of a breach of unsecured PHI.

HIPAA security awareness training is required for all members of a covered entity’s workforce, including employees, volunteers, trainees, and other persons whose conduct, in the performance of work, is under the entity’s direct control, whether or not the covered entity pays them. Business associates are also required to train their workforce members who handle PHI.

The Privacy Officer is responsible for developing and implementing the policies and procedures required by the HIPAA Privacy Rule within a covered entity or business associate. This includes ensuring compliance with privacy practices, conducting training, managing access to PHI, addressing privacy complaints, and providing guidance on privacy regulations and requirements.

The minimum necessary standard is a principle under the HIPAA Privacy Rule that requires covered entities and business associates to take reasonable steps to limit the use, disclosure, and requests for PHI to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose. This standard applies to all uses and disclosures of PHI, except for disclosures to healthcare providers for treatment purposes.

A HIPAA incident response plan is crucial for promptly and effectively responding to security incidents and PHI breaches. The plan helps minimize the impact of breaches by outlining procedures for investigation, notification, and mitigation, thereby ensuring compliance with the Breach Notification Rule and reducing potential harm to affected individuals.

Vendor management is critical in HIPAA compliance because covered entities often share PHI with vendors, known as business associates, who perform services on their behalf. Effective vendor management ensures that business associates comply with HIPAA requirements through Business Associate Agreements (BAAs), protecting the security and privacy of shared PHI.

Entities that need to comply with HIPAA include covered entities (health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers who transmit health information in electronic form) and business associates (persons or entities that perform certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of PHI on behalf of or provides services to, a covered entity).

HIPAA was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 21, 1996.

Employee training ensures the workforce understands their responsibilities regarding protecting sensitive patient information and compliance with HIPAA regulations. Training reduces the risk of accidental HIPAA violations and enhances defenses against cyberattacks by teaching employees how to recognize and respond to threats like phishing emails. Regular, comprehensive training fosters a culture of security and privacy within healthcare organizations, directly impacting patient trust and effectively protecting health information.

Cyber Security is a critical component of HIPAA compliance, aimed at protecting electronic protected health information (ePHI) from unauthorized access, breaches, and other cyber threats. The HIPAA Security Rule mandates explicitly covered entities to implement technical, physical, and administrative safeguards to secure ePHI. These measures are vital for maintaining patient information’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability, ensuring patient privacy, and preventing data breaches, which can have severe consequences for healthcare providers and patients.

Standard cyber security measures for HIPAA compliance include implementing strong access controls, conducting regular security risk assessments, encrypting ePHI in transit and at rest, ensuring secure communication channels, and employing intrusion detection systems. Additional measures involve training employees in security awareness, establishing clear policies for mobile device management, and creating an effective incident response plan to address potential breaches promptly.

Cyber Security policies and procedures should be reviewed regularly to ensure ongoing HIPAA compliance. While HIPAA does not prescribe a specific frequency, best practices suggest conducting these reviews annually or whenever significant changes in the IT environment, operations, or known security threats occur. Regular reviews help healthcare organizations adapt to new cyber security challenges and maintain the effectiveness of their security measures.

Risk assessments should be conducted regularly to comply with HIPAA standards, ideally annually or as significant changes occur that could affect the security of electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). These assessments are crucial for identifying vulnerabilities and threats to ePHI, ensuring appropriate safeguards, and maintaining compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule. Frequent assessments allow for timely updates to security measures in response to evolving cyber threats.

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Discover the wide range of customization options available for this course, allowing you to tailor the training to your specific needs and preferences.

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