HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 affects several aspects of a health care practice and other companies who deal with sensitive personal information. The HealthIT.gov resource details some of the key points of HIPAA compliance, especially regarding the privacy and security of patient data:
The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes a set of national standards for the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information – often called protected health information (PHI) – by covered entities(…)
In general, HIPAA Privacy Rule requirements:
• Apply to most health care providers;
• Set a federal floor for protecting individually identifiable health information across all mediums (electronic, paper, and oral);
• Limit how covered entities may use and disclose individually identifiable health information they receive or create;
• Give individuals rights with respect to their PHI, including a right to examine and obtain a copy of information in their medical records and the right to ask covered entities (that’s you!) to amend their medical record if information is inaccurate or incomplete;
• Impose administrative requirements for covered entities; and
• Establish civil penalties.
Is your company HIPAA-compliant? Make sure you enlist the aid of efficient document management services, such as Spectrum Information’s so you don’t incur penalties or face other serious consequences.
Financial Implications and More
The most dreaded effects of noncompliance with HIPAA involve the company’s finances. Aside from facing expensive penalties, you could eventually have a data breach. This will have various financial implications, such as thousands or even millions in legal defense costs if your patients or partners sue you. With such a blow to your reputation, you could also lose clients, and consequently, valuable income.
How Professional Document Management Helps
These possibilities make it imperative for any company to mitigate risks and improve compliance measures. You can consult a specialist company like Spectrum Information Services to thoroughly assess your document management system and find ways to make processes more efficient. Their experts can create a custom-tailored plan for you to realize and address weak or vulnerable points accordingly.
For instance, you may find it advantageous to invest in state-of-the-art document scanning services and protected storage to digitalize your resources. You can couple this with secure disposal or shredding of paper files for a safer, electronic record. Of course, these updates should be integrated with more rigorous employee training and workplace policies, so you can constantly deliver reliable quality services for patients.
(Source: Integrating Privacy & Security Into Your Practice, HealthIT.gov)