Healthcare information technology is becoming the new norm in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers. In the late 2000s, electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) systems sprung up in hospitals everywhere. These are specialized systems that provide healthcare providers a way to digitally capture and store specific medical records.

In brief, the difference between EHR and EMR systems lies in capabilities. In most cases, EMR systems are specific to keeping patient records digitally for quick updating and accessibility. EHR systems are typically more comprehensive, not only acting as a repository for records but also featuring functions to share medical records with other healthcare organizations as well as providing resources for treatment. Document management software also has a secure file-sharing function. 

Despite the specialized nature of these systems, they’re rarely consistent in what type of features they provide for users, with some specializing in certain aspects of healthcare, but are far from being all-in-one solutions for a hospital’s many document needs. For example, many systems are only set up to capture and store certain types of records and only in limited, proprietary file formats. Document management systems are capable of handling nearly any document format and can be configured to handle other processes besides managing patient records, such as accounting and HR.

Another drawback to EHR/EMR systems is that they’re often unwieldy and have a high learning curve for administrators to use effectively and with the efficiency they’re meant to enable.  

While EHR/EMRs are dedicated to healthcare service, they are not inherently Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant. They often require further controls and configurations from IT, especially if your files are located on-premise. 

HIPAA Focused Security

Any digital record system needs specific security protections. Besides having a network that’s secured with refined cybersecurity like endpoint protection, access control is a big part of security requirements. Having an interface that has strict security controls is essential since many data breaches happen internally after malicious parties gain access. 

Rubex by eFileCabinet has customizable security policies that can be set to meet HIPAA’s strict requirements, such as setting password complexity. You can’t allow users to have four character passwords, or have their password their birthdate. Set the minimum amount of characters as well as requiring different character types and setting a timeframe of when passwords need to be reset.

Multi-factor authentication is also a must-have for any system containing sensitive information. If a user’s password falls into the wrong hands, there needs to be another safeguard to prevent that unauthorized party from gaining access. This typically comes in the form of a randomly generated code sent to the user’s personal device. You can further customize security with requirements to only have authorized logins possible at chosen IP-addresses, as well as only having the system accessible to certain users during designated times of the day.

Permissions to Ensure Records Are Private

HIPAA rules related to record-keeping are all about access. Protected health information can only be accessed by authorized personnel with the intent of using it for purposes related to treatment and billing. With so many users accessing the system at all hours of the day, the only way to prevent an unauthorized user from accessing protected information is to have a robust role-based permission policy. 

Sorting your permissions by groups is an efficient way of ensuring access to certain records is available to select categories of users. For example, you can set it so only a doctor has access to their patients’ folders. For everyone else on the system, the records are invisible. 

Document management such as Rubex allows you to set up an ecosystem that follows HIPAA regulation with ease, and with data stored in a compliant cloud location, there’s little else that IT needs to configure to ensure compliance.

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