Staying in compliance with all aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, more commonly referred to as HIPAA, is essential for your healthcare organization.
HIPAA outlines strict standards applicable to a range of individuals and organizations, including the following:
• Healthcare providers, including doctors, dentists, chiropractors, nutritionists, behavioral therapists, clinics and hospitals
• Health plans, which include private insurance, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), state and federal health insurance plans and most employer-sponsored group health plans
• Healthcare information clearinghouses
• Business associates that have access to individually identifiable health data as part of their work with any of the previously mentioned groups
These entities, businesses, and healthcare providers are subject to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. This regulation allows for the use and disclosure of certain patient information in specific circumstances and regulates the storage, transmission, and retention of electronic health records.
The HIPAA Security Rule
The HIPAA Security Rule is a subset of the Privacy Rule. It is specifically concerned with the technologies used to protect patient-doctor communication and other types of communication in healthcare environments. The Security Rule requires healthcare providers and other covered organizations to adhere to four basic principles:
• These organizations must ensure that electronically protected health information remains confidential, accurate and available.
• They are responsible for identifying and creating safeguards against potential threats to the security of protected health information.
• Healthcare providers and other covered groups must put in place protections against unauthorized or impermissible use or disclosure of confidential patient information.
• All covered agencies and organizations must also certify compliance by their staff members, volunteers, and other employees and contractors.
These regulations apply to all patient communications as well as electronic health records stored in the healthcare facility, in the cloud or in other locations. Messages sent via text or phone are also subject to HIPAA regulations and requirements.
If your organization has not yet implemented a HIPAA-compliant phone system, here are five reasons to consider upgrading to these advanced technological tools today.
Improve Communications with a HIPAA Compliant Phone
As cell phones become an integral part of the lives of many people, these devices are increasingly being used to manage healthcare appointments, services and information. A HIPAA compliant phone system is an ideal way to improve patient communication while protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access and misuse.
By expanding patient-doctor communication into the mobile marketplace, your healthcare practice can reach patients on the go and through the communication method most preferred by many of your patients.
Access the Right Patient Communication Tools
Secure email and online portals are often the primary focus for healthcare providers when integrating HIPAA standards into patient communication methods. The value of a HIPAA compliant phone system, however, may be overlooked by some organizations.
Making sure that patient data is protected and secure when communicating confidential information on the phone, however, is a critical step toward compliance with HIPAA regulations.
Working with a company that offers expert help and guidance in providing a secure HIPAA phone number and HIPAA compliant apps is often the best first step toward providing the required security for patient-doctor communication within your practice.
Integrate HIPAA and Cell Phones for Better Patient Care
Mobile Phones are an important part of patient-doctor communication in many healthcare organizations. A HIPAA compliant phone system is an absolute necessity for medical professionals who need to send these patient communications on a regular basis or who use text to touch base with colleagues or other healthcare facilities.
HIPAA compliant apps that work with smartphones already in use at your facility are the ideal solution for sending texts to your colleagues.
Stay Secure with HIPAA Compliant Fax Options
Not all information can be conveyed in a phone call. HIPAA compliant fax services are an excellent option for sending confidential patient records to health insurance plans or to another healthcare provider.
Web-based solutions let practices fax securely from the cloud. However, most cloud-based fax services are not HIPAA compliant and they do not always offer the option to send faxes using a traditional fax machine as well.
For this reason, it is increasingly important to find a HIPAA compliant fax service that is connected to a complete HIPAA compliant phone system. Ideally, your fax service should offer improved solutions such as the ability to choose between cloud-based fax and a fax machine and still be confident that the information exchanged is secure.
Maintain Comprehensive HIPAA Compliance
Failing to comply with the regulations and requirements of HIPAA can come with some fairly stiff penalties. In some cases, organizations may be barred from participation in Medicare billing processes or could be subject to monetary penalties.
Staying on the right side of HIPAA requirements will also help you to maintain trust with your patients. These guidelines will protect your patients and your organization from impermissible uses of and access to sensitive and confidential information.
At RingRx, we offer expert help and the right solutions for HIPAA compliant phone systems that meet your patient communication needs and comply with HIPAA requirements. We specialize in simplifying patient communication and providing options for safe and secure transmission of patient data.