The healthcare industry has some of the most stringent standards in terms of data-related regulatory compliance. HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) applies to 18 different aspects of individual health information that could potentially be used to identify someone. HIPAA privacy rules apply to both written and visual information. Privacy rules are only one aspect of HIPAA. While the entire act revolves around patient privacy, it’s not only organizations within the healthcare industry that need to be concerned about HIPAA compliance. Any covered entity or business associate that interacts with healthcare information also falls under the jurisdiction of HIPAA and must meet the requirements set forth by the HIPAA security compliance checklist. The good news for healthcare providers, dentists, and doctors is that document management providers are able to ensure they remain compliant with HIPAA.
The HIPAA Security Compliance Checklist
The HIPAA compliance checklist is just what it sounds like – a checklist of criteria that organizations must meet in order to comply with HIPAA regulations. The requirements of HIPAA are broad so they can be applied to all organizations that come into contact with Protected Health Information (PHI). There are five main technological safeguards that must be in place, according to the HIPAA compliance checklist. These HIPAA security rules include:
- Implementation of a means of control
- The inclusion of a verified authentication method for ePHI
- Tools for encryption and decryption
- Introduction of activity logs and audit controls
- Facilitation of automatic log-off for network-connected devices
Failing to adhere to HIPAA compliance comes with a heavy cost. Fines for violations can be as high as $1 million when sensitive information is concerned. Needless to say, any organization within healthcare or related to healthcare cannot afford to neglect security measures that involve Patient Health Information.
HIPAA Compliance & Document Security Equipment
The primary challenge of medical software is dealing with document management. Because such software is essential to processing large numbers of documents, most healthcare providers utilize these systems. Some of the key features of quality medical document security software include ease of use, strictly defined structure, and data security. Security solutions at the software level mean little without the hardware necessary to implement those solutions. Document security equipment includes medical office multi-function printers, medical office scanners, and network security, which helps to deal with issues that all organizations must concern themselves with today.
Other than requiring an inventory of all hardware containing ePHI, the HIPAA compliance checklist does not define specific hardware requirements. However, the entire list, when taken as a whole, implies that the proper document security equipment has to be implemented. This includes everything necessary to prevent or detect breaches if and when they do happen. In order to provide an integrated-document security solution, multi-function printers (MFPs) can be outfitted with wireless access points with pre-installed security-conscious firmware. With medical office managed IT, this integration can be accomplished without the need for piecing together every detail on your own.
High Quality HIPAA Compliance
External Managed IT services can provide services that will further integrate the necessary components of HIPAA security compliance into an office’s overall infrastructure. This eliminates the worry concerning the chance of a data leak or a security breach happening in some unexpected corner of document security services.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals have enough to worry about. By placing document-security, for both paper documents and digital files, concerns in the hands of experienced professionals, healthcare offices are able to have a HIPAA-compliant infrastructure that is tailored to meet the needs of their team and patients. Medical offices also benefit from a more efficient workflow that not only keeps them in compliance with HIPAA, but adapts to their changing needs.
Want to learn more about the available IT security options that RJ Young offers to hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare organizations? Contact us today to learn more about the latest HIPAA compliant document security innovations.
Few people understand the importance of workflow efficiency better than employees in a medical office or hospital. Keeping documentation organized, ensuring sensitive data remains secure and making sure they stay HIPAA compliant are just a few of the tasks medical offices face daily. Fortunately, these practices can focus on other tasks thanks to medical office document management services.
What Are Document Management Services?
Initially, Document Management meant digitizing all of the documents in filing cabinets to make them easier to access and search through. For many organizations, the promise of automation for document capture, routing, and access remained unfulfilled with older systems. These systems were cumbersome or confusing, leaving employees to resort to old, manual processes. With recent developments in software and technology, however, document management can transform a work environment in several ways. This includes so much more than just scanning services – especially for healthcare.
Document Security & Regulation Compliance
Once documents are digitally stored, they instantly become more secure. Whereas physical copies can be picked up by anyone in the immediate vicinity, digital copies require multiple steps before they can be accessed.
Sometimes it is necessary for hard copies to be made. With the workflow solutions provided by modern document management software, medical practices can securely print hard copies of sensitive information with the use of badge swipes or codes. This provides an additional layer of security by only allowing authorized users access to health records and other patient information.
The best way to ensure HIPAA compliance is by controlling who has access to medical records. With medical office document management services, digital access for medical records can be solely provided to authorized individuals. By meeting HIPAA’s privacy regulations, compliance indeed becomes achievable.
Saving Green by Going Green
Recent reports have shown that medical practices produce over 1000 faxes per month. By opting for electronic documents and cutting out these faxes and subsequent copies, medical offices can reduce costs. These funds can then be allocated to more significant areas. These savings do not just come from cutting down on the cost of paper. Offices enjoy additional benefits due to a reduction in toner and ink cartridge replenishment, fewer equipment servicing requests, and smaller storage requirements for documents.
How Document Management Is Saving Today’s Medical Office
Studies have found that over 80 percent of doctors use EHRs(electronic healthcare record systems). Most doctors and physicians assume that their EHR software is the only piece of document management that they require. Though EHRs are a significant improvement from traditional paper practices, they can still be improved. Document Management software can integrate with EHRs that are already in place. This helps fortify security for patient information and lab results and ensures automation processes are operating at maximum efficiency.
Reducing Human Error
Even though an overwhelming majority of doctors are now utilizing electronic systems, most are still relying on paper-based documents for processes that could be automated such as patient intake forms. By holding onto these paper-based practices, sensitive documents are subject to one of the most severe threats to HIPAA compliance – human error.
The best way to reduce human error is to simplify processes and make systems more organized. Paper files allow for human error to occur more easily than digital ones. Misplacing confidential patient records is more prone to happen when files are physically stored. These hard copies can be placed in incorrect folders, which can lead to false information being relayed. By holding onto paper copies of patient data, there is also a much higher chance of being in violation of HIPAA due to the information being less secure.
Human error and HIPAA violations can be minimized when document management is implemented. By keeping all files digital, professionals can simply search the database of files to find the most accurate patient information through secure means. Additional security measures can be placed on electronic files to make sure that only approved users have access. This is a much better way to ensure HIPAA compliance than locking documents in a filing cabinet. Essentially, medical office document management maximizes efficiency by minimizing the chance of errors.
Improving Workflow Through Automation
One of the largest benefits of implementing document management can be seen in patient records. Prior to automation, medical facilities would pull patient records and fax them to provide patient information to other professionals. Due to human error and large reserves of files, the documents sent over might not be the most recent files. After an office incorporates automation into their daily practices, they are able to guarantee that the files they pull and send are the most up-to-date ones. With superior organization and search capabilities, electronic systems improve almost every single process that the healthcare industry uses.
It’s All About The Patient
Medical Office Document Management helps transform an office into a more patient-oriented organization because they spend less time worrying about documents and more time on the patients themselves.