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5 HIPAA Violation Examples and How to Avoid Them

Our healthcare information is more vulnerable than ever in today’s interconnected world. Every time you use a web-based form builder to gather patient data or allow your users to fill out online medical forms, you get access to their personal health information (PHI). 

Imagine this: a scenario where your patients’ confidential details are exposed due to an unintentional slip or oversight. Violating HIPAA can have staggering consequences, from hefty fines to legal repercussions or a dent in the trust patients place in you. 

This article will explore five real-world examples of HIPAA violations that could happen when using web forms. And we will provide HIPAA compliance measures you can wield with the help of a trusted ally, 123FormBuilder.

Unauthorized PHI Access

One of the most common HIPAA violations occurs when healthcare employees access PHI without proper authorization. This can happen out of curiosity or, in some cases, with malicious intent. How to avoid it:

  • Put in place strong access controls: To restrict information exposure, ensure that only authorized workers have access to PHI, and implement role-based access rights.
  • Employee education: Provide extensive HIPAA training to all employees, emphasizing the significance of patient privacy and the legal ramifications of unlawful access.

When utilizing online forms to collect patient data, you can be sure 123FormBuilder has safe user authentication and access restrictions. Only authorized personnel should be able to access and submit the web forms containing PHI to avoid HIPAA violations. 

Choose a form builder that allows you to set up role-based access permissions and user authentication, ensuring that sensitive patient data is protected from unauthorized access.

Negligent Disclosure of PHI

Unintentional disclosure of PHI can occur in various ways, such as sharing patient information with the wrong recipient, leaving printed documents in public areas, or discussing patient details inappropriately. Here are a few ways to avoid it:

  • Encrypt electronic PHI: Encrypt all electronic PHI to protect it from unauthorized access or interception and avoid HIPAA violation.
  • Establish secure communication protocols: Use secure methods for sharing patient information, such as encrypted email or secure messaging platforms.
  • Maintain a clean workspace: Ensure that printed patient records and documents are securely stored and establish policies for properly disposing of sensitive information.

123FormBuilder offers secure data transmission and storage options for web forms. Ensure that any PHI collected through web forms is encrypted during transmission, preventing unauthorized interception. 

Additionally, use secure storage features provided by 123FormBuilder to prevent accidental disclosure and ensure that patient data remains confidential.

Inadequate Data Security Measures

Failure to implement proper data security measures is a common HIPAA violation. This includes inadequate safeguards against data breaches resulting from hacking, malware, or other cyberattacks. Avoid it by taking the following steps:

  • Conduct regular security assessments: Identify and address vulnerabilities in your IT systems and network infrastructure through periodic security assessments.
  • Implement strong passwords and authentication: Require solid and unique passwords and implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect access to PHI.
  • Stay informed about security best practices: Keep your organization’s security measures up-to-date with the latest industry standards and guidance.

Choose a web form platform like 123FormBuilder that prioritizes data security. They offer robust security features, including data encryption at rest and in transit, regular security assessments, and the option for multi-factor authentication (MFA) for users accessing sensitive forms. 

With 123FormBuilder, you can maintain HIPAA compliance by leveraging these advanced security measures.

Improper Disposal of PHI

Improper disposal of PHI can occur when healthcare organizations dispose of physical documents or electronic devices containing patient information without taking adequate precautions. Ensure you’re taking these steps to avoid improper disposal of personal health information and HIPAA violations:

  • Shred or securely dispose of physical records: Establish a protocol for shredding or securely disposing of paper records that contain PHI.
  • Properly wipe electronic devices: When disposing of electronic devices like laptops or smartphones, ensure that all patient data is permanently deleted or the device is securely wiped.

Even when dealing with electronic forms, consider the end-of-life stage of data. 123FormBuilder guides securely deleting or archiving submitted web forms and their associated data when no longer needed. 

Proper data retention and disposal policies ensure that PHI is not mishandled even after its intended use.

Neglecting Business Associate Agreements

Healthcare organizations often work with third-party vendors, such as IT service providers or billing companies, who may have access to PHI. Neglecting to establish proper business associate agreements (BAAs) with these vendors can lead to HIPAA violations.

How to avoid neglecting business associate agreements:

  • Develop comprehensive BAAs: Create legally binding BAAs that clearly outline the responsibilities and obligations of third-party vendors with access to PHI.
  • Regularly review and update agreements: Ensure that BAAs are reviewed and updated to reflect changes in technology, regulations, or business operations.

When using third-party web form services, ensure they can enter into HIPAA-compliant Business Associate Agreements (BAAs). 

This agreement should outline the responsibilities and obligations of the service in handling PHI. Verify that the company is willing to sign a BAA, which is essential for maintaining compliance when dealing with patient information web forms.


HIPAA violations can have serious consequences for healthcare organizations and individuals working in the healthcare industry. 

Understanding these common HIPAA violation examples and implementing proactive measures to avoid them allows healthcare professionals and organizations to protect patient privacy, avoid legal penalties, and maintain patient trust. 

Incorporating these HIPAA compliance measures into your use of web forms through 123FormBuilder can significantly enhance your organization’s ability to collect, store, and manage patient information securely while staying in accordance with HIPAA regulations. 

Remember, compliance with HIPAA is an ongoing effort that requires diligence, training, and a commitment to safeguarding sensitive patient information.

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