What Is HIPAA?
We have all been thrown into the electronic age. It has its benefits because healthcare can be much more effective if a patient’s medical records can be shared quickly with individuals providing their care. If you are in a medical crisis, it is a great benefit that your medical history from your general physician can be transferred to a specialist in a hospital 1,000 miles away with the click of a button. The rise of computers and the internet has definitely made healthcare better. Along with that, your health information is now there for the whole world to see. Security measures must be put into place to protect this information, which is the reason why the Department of Health and Human Services has created the HIPAA regulations.
In recent years, any time you get healthcare of any type, whether it is for a prescription, routine checkups, or emergency care, you are asked to sign a bunch of forms. These forms are called HIPAA compliance forms and are designed to let us know that the medical profession has put procedures into place to protect our private information from unwanted disclosure.
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Originally, it was created to help the healthcare industry save money by making everything computerized instead of maintaining a paper trail. This opened up the possibility of breaches in privacy, so new confidentiality rules needed to be put in place by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Guidelines for HIPAA Compliance:
- It is the responsibility of your doctor or medical facility and your insurance company to explain what they are going to do with your medical information and who they are going to give it to.
- You have the right to all of the information they have and you can get copies. You also have the right to make any changes that you feel are inaccurate. Additionally, you have the right to see a record of whomever they have given any of your information to.
- You must give your written consent in order for anyone to share your information with anyone else.
- You are able to complain to the US Department of Health and Human Services if you think that anyone has seen your records that you didn’t agree to, such as financial institutions or possible employers. For example, an employer accessing your medical records when they were considering you for a job is a total invasion of privacy and you have the right to complain to the office of civil rights.
- Even when they do share information, only what is pertinent to the end user can get shared. They have the right to the minimum amount of information.
- If the information is regarding any kind of mental condition, it is understood that there is an extra level of security surrounding this information.
The proposal has great intentions, but carrying out the requirements has been extremely expensive for the medical community or for anyone who has the responsibility of private, personal medical information.
Making HIPAA Compliance Easy
As a company whose main objective is creating software that can manage as well as store important patient information, eFileCabinet can be a great help when it comes to maintaining compliance with HIPPA. They can keep the information on-site or manage all the information in the Cloud.
Specifically designed to help any health-care facility become HIPPA compliant and stay that way, their software can provide the following capabilities:
- Help with passwords and specific role access to protect who is viewing sensitive information
- Highly secure data encryption in place to protect information
- Implementation of audit trails that can be used in HIPAA reporting
- Data integrity in software to prevent any inaccuracies in data
- Security of data even in emergency or disaster situations (Companies are still responsible for the security of information even if something happens to mainframes or other electronic disasters occur.)
- Increased security during transmission to protect from being hijacked
eFileCabinet can protect your company or health organization from significant civil and criminal penalties that could result if the US Department of Health and Human Services or office of civil rights finds you in violation of the HIPAA requirements.
HIPAA has been created to protect the general public’s most private medical information from being shared inappropriately over electronic means. All of the medical organizations have the responsibility to put proper procedures in place to make sure they are HIPPA compliant. The first thing the medical community has to do is understand exactly what has to be done and make sure their entire staff understands the regulations. eFileCabinet software can be the answer that is needed to ensure the privacy of health information for the general public as well as the organizations that are burdened with the responsibility of HIPAA compliance.