Medical insurance has greatly changed the way that hospitals, clinics, and home care providers function. Insurance agencies watch spending, treatment plans, and pretty much every regulatory aspect about how healthcare is organized. For this reason, extensive medical form management has to be done in all parts of the medical profession. Home health care documents are particularly important because they aren’t handled by a hospital, and are instead left up to the health care providers that are in patients’ homes. This presents a unique challenge, since health care document management and medical form management are a lot more difficult when you have to travel around, and when you don’t have the benefit of a centralized office or data entry location like a hospital does. In this article, we’re going to talk about how document management systems like eFileCabinet can help home care providers organize the documents they need in order to stay in line with HIPAA regulations.


Documentation Requirements

In general, there are three steps to the way that home healthcare documents work. This is not to say that documents exist only in these three categories, but they are by far the most common ways that home healthcare providers organize documentation. The first broad category is the evaluation. When beginning with a patient, a healthcare provider always starts with a complete evaluation of their patient. The documentation for this process is really important because it informs the treatment plan, the way that caregivers will interact with the patient, and what kind of treatment they receive, if needed.

The second category of documentation is the plan of care. This is probably the kind of documentation that you’d expect from home caregivers, and it’s obviously very important. Plans of care include things like treatment goals, expectations about how treatment will work, and any unforeseen complications to the proposed plan. Medicare and insurance groups will almost always ask to see a treatment plan before they offer to cover any expenses.

The last group of documentation is loosely called progress. This represents the ongoing documentation that must be submitted as a patient is treated. This includes reports on progress, explicit details of any changes in methods, and explanations of any procedures performed. It’s important to note that detailed reports are absolutely critical. Any kind of disparity in details, or failure to document, can result in serious financial penalties that are often crippling to people who rely on government aid for their health care.


HIPAA Regulations Applicable to Home Healthcare Providers

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It was passed in 1996, and it has largely defined the way that health insurance, and their interactions with home care providers, have worked since it was enacted. HIPAA requires a large amount of security on its documentation, which makes sense because a lot of the information is very sensitive, carrying personal and financial information, as well as things like social security numbers.

The steps taken in order to ensure security, according to HIPAA’s regulations, are in three parts: administrative security, which deals with procedures and policies, physical safeguards, covering things that aren’t software, and technical safeguards, which are the kinds of electronic securities that a document management system is excellent for. Here, you can read more about how HIPAA regulates home healthcare providers.


How Document Management Can Help

There are a lot of reasons you might decide to use document management systems to help you with complying with HIPAA regulations. The first reason is pure convenience – document management systems can be hooked up to work wirelessly. In fact, eFileCabinet offers several gigabytes of space for just this purpose. This means that you don’t need to be at a desktop computer, or on a particular network, in order to access the files you’ll need for documentation. This is especially useful if you have to travel to several different homes as a home healthcare provider, because you can always take all of your documentation with you, which will save time and physical space.

Another important reason is a point we’ve talked about already – HIPAA has some very stringent rules for document security. Using a document management system, like eFileCabinet, that is specially made for home healthcare providers, means that you’ll have automatic security without needing to ask for more or better security. Find out more about eFileCabinet’s document management system that is tailor made for healthcare providers.