Thanks to technology and advances throughout the medical industry, it is common to see more tablets than paper charts when you visit the doctor nowadays. However, while electronic medical records are certainly convenient and can help to coordinate care more easily across disciplines, there are other obstacles to overcome in regards to patient privacy.
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was enacted in 1996 and changed the way the medical industry handled patient information. While the law itself is nearly 25 years old, HIPAA has evolved over the years due to the introduction of more technology in the medical and ancillary fields.
If you work in the medical, insurance, any other industries covered by HIPAA, you already know the ins and outs of the law. However, you may not realize how HIPAA affects your IT services. Here are the basics and what you need to know.
Small and Medium-Sized Agencies are at High Risk
While large hospital systems often have dedicated IT departments to assure they are up to HIPAA security standards, many small and medium-sized agencies are at risk for noncompliance. These agencies, like local physician practices or locally-owned out-patient therapy offices, can double-check their online compliance by using a tool from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Your Managed IT Services Provider Should Know HIPAA
Healthcare and other industries covered by HIPAA should only work with Managed IT Service Providers that are well-versed in HIPAA. Unfortunately, not all providers are familiar with the intricacies of HIPAA which means you are putting your patients and organization at risk for legal and compliance issues. Choose to only work with a provider that knows every detail of HIPAA and how to develop policies and procedures that will protect your organization and patients.
Your Organization Policies Should Match the HIPAA Security Rule
If your organization has not revised or reviewed your online documentation policies for a few years, now is the time to do it. When reviewing your organization’s policy and procedure manual, use the HIPAA Security Rule as a guide to assure you are meeting online documentation and electronic medical record regulations.
You can make positive changes to your organization’s IT and online documentation procedures at any time to assure you are meeting HIPAA regulations. However, it is much easier to do this with an experienced Managed IT Services Provider. At RWK, we excel at HIPAA compliance and are ready to hear more about your company’s goals to protect your patient information.
Call our team today to tell us more about your organization. We’ll develop a plan together.