OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The main objective of this Federal organization is to enforce rules and regulations related to safety of workers at worksites. It is an enforcement wing of Department of Labor (DOL) and oversees inspection of worksites to check for hazards, offers advice to the employers how to remove them, educate the workers to follow the right safety procedures to eliminate or reduce the risks, and check the locations or worksites that have not been inspected.
To enforce safety norms, OSHA employs inspectors, technical experts, standard writers and compliance investigators, who are highly trained professionals and experts in their fields. The inspectors have the right to inspect any worksite at random in an appropriate manner and time. They have the right to question an employer or employee to know about the true facts of the work environment of the site.
Hazardous places or worksites are given the inspection priority because of very higher incidence of accidents, illness and the resultant fatalities. The inspector takes a tour of the site and if they find that the working conditions are not as per regulations then the employer can be either warned or fined. For willful violation of law, stricter penalties are imposed.
There are different activities that OSHA undertakes:
- Provides assistance to the employers to make the worksites safer.
- Encourages employees to follow the safety rules through various programs.
- Targets workplaces that have the most numbers of accidents and illness.
- Takes regulatory actions against defaulters for violations.
- Creates partnerships with workers and employers to improve onsite safety.
Maintains records of all the workplaces inspected and provides safety information to all workers of facility.The enforcement agency uses its’ vast infrastructure and resources to keep track on the various work sites and punish the offenders through fines and imprisonment. At the same time it educates employers and employees through various programs on how to create a safe work environment and protect precious lives from various hazards.
OSHA compliance helps to save precious human lives.
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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA, as it is popularly known was enacted in 1996 by Congress. It came into force on 1 July, 1997. The main purpose of this act is to manage health care delivery system and regulate health insurance industry so that people are protected from frauds, malpractices and discrimination.
The Act provides health insurance coverage to the individuals and their families, who loose or change their jobs. It promotes use of medical saving accounts, frames health insurance procedures and provides access to long term services. The law prohibits discrimination between individuals based on their health conditions and issues guidelines that monitor insurance plans and their providers, so that customers are not cheated and their rights are completely protected.
The ongoing process of conversion of health records into electronic data is the part of the strategy to create a health care system that can be managed in a safe and sound manner. For this HIPAA has issued guidelines that advise on how to protect the crucial patient health information, while it is stored or transferred, electronically. The thrust is on protecting the health information of the patients so that it is not misused.
The Act prohibits use of medical data of patients for any other purpose, except treatment. The data can not be used for marketing purpose and the patients have the complete right to protect their privacy and written consent is needed from them prior to any disclosure of their information to third party. HIPAA makes it mandatory for all the insurers to document their privacy procedures so that the patients know very well how their privacy will be protected. The health insurers are bound to keep all the details confidential and in case individuals or groups feel that their information has been compromised, they can lodge complain with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for civil rights.
In the end it can be rightly said that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act acts as guardian of the health care system by efficiently managing health insurance system and placing safeguards in it to make it tamper proof. This all translates into a credible health delivery system that fulfills health care requirements of the patients in a safe and secure manner.
HIPAA compliance makes it easy to maintain confidentiality of patient health information.
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The Learning Management System is an e-management system, which manages e-courses imparted to the online learners. The basic idea is to educate and train students who come from diverse fields. There are many online learning courses offered, which educate people about safer and better working environment. LMS is a software package that provides a reliable platform for delivering of e- packages to the online learners around the world.
The LMS offers a multitude of advantages to the users, which makes make their access of the online courses quite easy.
- The courses are completely managed online, hence it possible for every one to enroll, easily.
- People are not bound by the time and distance and can easily access the on line courses of their choice from their own computer.
- The courses are tailored to address the need of particular industry and LMS play a critical role by ensuring that all the relevant information is updated on regular intervals and brought to the knowledge of the students.
- The online courses pertaining to Joint Commission, HIPAA, OSHO and Red Flag are smoothly managed and can be easily updated on a regular basis. This is a great feature that protects the organization from legal lawsuits due to non conformance on the part of employee due to lack of proper knowledge.
Ensures Compliance and transparency
The system keeps tracks of the students’ performances and displays the result online and gives the user a good understanding of the learning path that they have to undertake. They can also checks their progress and review their records at regular intervals. This helps the users to check, where they stands during different phases of the e-course. Learning Management System is a great boon for the organizations as it has a tracking system that quickly points to the non conformance of standards and reduces considerably the risks of legal actions due to lapse on the part of the employees or employers. It provides regular updates and ensures that the organization and its people stay abreast when it comes to following the requisite laws and regulations that are enforced by government regulatory authorities. The system also provides greater transparency by allowing the users to:
- Set a predetermined course completion date that suits them
- Update themselves on their progress
- Know exactly how many people have completed the course at any given time.
- Allows the candidates to view their results online
LMS in Safety and Healthcare Applications
The Learning Management System allows for better management of OSHA courses, which train workers about occupational safety standards employed in the workplace. There are various courses on protection from various hazards that workers face at work site.
Joint Commission courses for hospital accreditation are available, so that learners can enhance their knowledge about requisite standards. The aim is to make people aware about the norms that will help them greatly to increase the quality of patient care.
LMS in Security applications
The e-courses in HIPAA are well managed through Learning Management System. The course is about how to prevent identity theft and is of great use to patients and the insurance companies as it saves them from the fraud claims due to stolen identity and in the process saves millions of dollars.
Learning Management System offers an interface that makes it possible to address compliance issues easily.
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Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHA) works under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor and oversees the safety of workers in their workplace. The prime objective of OSHA compliance is to enforce the rules framed by the Department of Labor for the work sites to provide a safe working environment for the workers. This helps to prevent accidents and considerably reduces loss of precious human lives.
All the employees and their employers under Federal Government are covered by OSHA regulations and it necessary for them to follow the rules or they risk inviting penalties. The employers and workers are provided intensive safety training from the organization and once it is done they are expected to follow the program judiciously
There are few important steps that need to be taken by the employer to achieve the right OSHA compliance.
- The all-in-one poster should be clearly displayed in the premises of the facility so that the workers can easily view it without any hindrance
- The poster should be posted on separate floors so that all the workers in different part of the facility have the opportunity to access the information easily.
- The employers should ensure that the employees read the information poster by replacing multi poster with all-in-one poster, even in places where employees visit once time a day.
- It is mandatory for the employer to provide all the information related to workplace, employment, rights and safety issues to all the employees. In no circumstances the employer can withhold any information that employees seek and which falls under the OSHA policy of “Right to know”.
- It is necessary for all the employers to post the minimum wage laws framed by the state and Federal government, even if none of the employees are paid the minimum wage.
- The employees should be protected from harassment and the employer is liable for any wrongdoing that the management does knowingly or unknowingly.
- The blood borne pathogen program should be followed in addition to the State and Federal health programs to achieve OSHA compliance from the health perspective of the employees.
It is necessary to follow the OSHA regulations to avoid heavy penalties that come with non compliance. It benefits the organizations by providing better and safer working environment. The result is increase in productivity and more profitability for the facility in long run.
OSHA enforces safety regulations to create a safe working environment to protect human lives from hazards.
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In the present times internet plays a significant role in daily lives of people. The global reach it provides to the users has made it possible to educate people living far and wide. This has made it feasible to provide e-learning to people in a very cost-effective manner. The students are no longer at a disadvantage due to time and distance. The web world has made is possible for students to override these drawbacks easily and connect with instructors electronically.
The online learning is a highly flexible process that can be divided into four broad categories. They are:
The individual or group of people can easily pace their learning process according to their own convenience as it gives them flexibility of time and place. They can easily fit into their distance learning schedule in their daily lives. This is an internet or intranet based, mode of education and provides many advantages that are mentioned below.
- E-learning cuts cost and time
- It provides a vast customer base on a global level
- It provides a common delivery platform for the same content that is presented to different people in a same way
- The content is highly accurate as it is updated on a regular basis. This feature also helps in quick distribution of new information to all people.
- As more and more people are using web, distance learning is becoming highly acceptable mode of education, today.
- It helps the student to gauge his or her progress, maintain a record of what is achieved and carry out self analysis of knowledge gained.
E-learning is a boon to the students has it allows them to overcome the barriers of time and distance, easily. Educational institutions can also reach wide audience without spending on and maintaining costly infrastructure. In the end online learning is beneficial to both providers and receivers.
E-learning is gaining importance as it considerably reduces overheads for the organisation.
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HIPAA is a United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and consists of HIPAA I and HIPAA II. HIPAA I administer health insurance norms, which are meant for people who loose or change jobs. The HIPAA II is about standardization of healthcare procedure that the health providers are required to follow. The later version is what is talked about the most and also governs the norms that are necessary for protection of the patient health records. This is necessary to protect the patients and the health insurance agencies from the frauds due to stolen identity.
HIPAA is enforcing stricter laws and norms to deal firmly with health insurance fraud cases like the one reported in the SUN newspaper about sale of vital health records of patients to attorneys so that they could mint money. There are few steps that have been taken in recent months with sole purpose to make electronic exchange of human health data, foolproof.
- In November 2009 eight Federal agencies approved a notice approval form. It makes mandatory for the health providers to share with customers how their information is gathered and distributed. This makes it easy for the customers to decide easily whether they want to stay in or opt out of the service.
- The new regulations allow the state to sue the defaulter for HIPAA violations, expand criminal prosecution and impose heavy fines
- The final rule of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued as per American Recovery and Reinvestment Act makes it necessary for the health providers to report breach in patient health information to the consumer. If the health information of 500 or more people is leaked then it should be brought to notice in media. The rule also clarifies on the timing, content and method of reporting the leak.
- The Recovery act makes it necessary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a survey on the entities that provide health services but are not covered by HIPAA. The aim is to frame rules on how such entities can discharge their medical services and at same time safeguard vital patient statistics.
In the end new and stricter regulations point out to the effort of the regulatory authorities to clamp down on the fraudulent practices that still exist in the system in spite of safeguards that are placed in it. The sole purpose is to make the electronic sharing of patient health data secure and tamper proof. This will save the State and people from loosing millions of dollar every year due to fraudulent insurance claims.
This is how regulatory authorities are taking atough stand to root out malpractices from health care system by enforcing stricter HIPAA regulations to make the patient identity and their health data more safe.
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