Keeping Your Healthcare Practice
When it comes to complying with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the stakes are high. A record of $28.7 million in fines was collected from healthcare providers and insurers in 2018. In this blog, we offer several tips for keeping your healthcare practice HIPAA compliant.
Know the Law
Knowing HIPAA rules is critical for compliance. HIPAA requires healthcare providers’ “covered entities” to implement physical, administrative, and technical safeguards for protected health information (PHI). HIPAA compliance is monitored and enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Penalties for lack of compliance include monetary fines and possible criminal charges.
Train Your Staff
People in your practice who regularly interact with patient records should be trained on HIPAA privacy and security rules. Make sure your staff understands your practice’s policy for accessing, transmitting, and archiving medical data. Host regular meetings and training sessions to offer guidance on updates to HIPAA and meeting new requirements.
Invest in Secure Medical Records Storage
Under HIPAA, healthcare providers must strike a balance between providing efficient access to patient records and protecting patients from medical identity theft. As a result, patient-care-related records should be accessible without compromising the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI). Always store medical charts out of the public’s view. A medical records storage service keeps PHI safe while reducing in-house chart storage constraints. Your provider should index every chart in each box and provide an online system that allows for fast lookup, and retrieval of any requested chart or X-ray.
Prioritize Scheduled Shredding
HIPAA requires secure disposal of physical and electronic forms of PHI. Your records storage partner’s software should track retention, and allow disposal, of electronic records. Partnering with a scheduled shredding provider helps your healthcare organization meet this requirement. Locked collection containers are brought to your practice to make sure medical records are disposed of securely and in a controlled manner. The containers are emptied regularly for professional, secure destruction. A Certificate of Destruction should be produced after each scheduled shredding service and offers proof of your compliance with HIPAA privacy requirements. Always consult your attorney or malpractice carrier before assigning destruction dates for patient charts, X-rays, and other patient-related files.
Choose a HIPAA-Compliant Backup Provider
Whether from a natural disaster or cyber-attack, data loss can have a devastating impact on your practice’s ability to provide quality patient care. As a result, your practice should have a reliable backup and recovery solution. The HIPAA Security Rule establishes a set of security standards for protecting certain health information stored or transferred in electronic form. When partnering with an electronic backup or media storage and rotation provider, make sure they are willing to sign a HIPAA business associate agreement.
Docusafe serves businesses in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania with medical data management solutions.
For more information about our services, please call us at (888) 264-7367 or complete the form on this page.
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