Ensure Your Practice’s Communications Are HIPAA-Compliant
If you’re in the medical field, being HIPAA-compliant should be a top concern. If you’re not following HIPAA rules and regulations, you’re putting your practice at risk of getting penalized and having more serious consequences, including jail time. And to make things worse, many find that HIPAA laws and rules are sort of vague on what needs to happen for a practice to be HIPAA-compliant. Not only does your practice need to run smoothly, but it also needs to protect private patient data. Technology sort of allows this to happen, but new technologies bring about new concerns when it comes to HIPAA compliance, which is why many practices are hesitant to incorporate new technology. Here are some ways to stay HIPAA-compliant throughout common tasks in your practice:
Your practice most likely uses email to communicate with patients given it’s convenient and easy. If your patients request this form of communication, you need to make sure that you protect their information to be HIPAA-compliant. Make sure that you have a secure email network so that you can’t get hacked. Also, be sure that workers email patients the correct information as it pertains to them and not anyone else’s.
Digital marketing is vital for any business these days, so it’s important that you have a website and relevant social media channels for your practice. Just don't forget that security is a must when it comes to digital marketing, especially when interacting with patients.
- Patient Portals
It’s important to know that patient portals are still subject to HIPPA compliance and often times post a security risk because of all the private patient information they contain. Make sure that you research the different types of patient portals when looking for vendors, always asking how they are HIPAA-compliant before purchasing one.
Appointment reminders are easy to use and convenient for patients and your office, but using technology to automate these sorts of tasks can put you at risk when it comes to being HIPAA-compliant. Make sure that you don’t give away any private patient information inadvertently!
- Be Cautious With Texts/IMs
You might want to communicate with other doctors with text or IM because it’s faster and easier, but approach with caution because it’s easy for someone to hack into your tablet/messaging platform/phone and steal private patient information.
- Be Safe In Communication With Other Practices
Your practice will most likely communicate with your patients’ other health care professionals, and when you do so, make sure it’s in a safe manner that is HIPAA-compliant.
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