HIPAA consulting services have an important role to play in certain areas of HIPAA compliance, particularly if your business provides a niche service for a Covered Entity or a Business Associate. They can also be of value if your business is in the start-up stage and requires professional guidance about the measures that need to be implemented in order to make your product or service HIPAA compliant.
In many circumstances, in-house or software-based HIPAA consulting services are used as a temporary measure until a business has sufficient experience of HIPAA to handle compliance issues itself. In this respect, a business may engage a consulting company as a HIPAA Privacy or Security Officer until an employee is trained to a sufficient standard to take over the role themselves.
What HIPAA consulting services cannot do is guarantee HIPAA compliance. They can provide advice and suggest solutions to issues uncovered by a risk analysis, but each individual Covered Entity or Business Associate remains responsible for developing and enforcing HIPAA-compliant policies and procedures, and maintaining compliance within the business once the consultation period is over.