What You Need to Know about HIPAA Regarding Email, Texts, and Mobile Apps
Did you know that the Netherlands have a 99% participation rate in electronic medical record keeping? This means they lead the world as far as medical practices using electronic records. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and it regulates privacy, medical disclosures and patient consent, especially as they relate to digital communication. If you are found guilty of HIPAA noncompliance, your hospital or office could be charged thousands of dollars. Here are three things you need to know about adhering to HIPAA.
1. HIPAA Compliant Emails
Did you know that Gmail is not HIPAA compliant because they lack a BAA? The HIPAA Omnibus requires that you sign a Business Associate Agreement with any vendor that will potentially come into contact with your PHI. Basically, email that is HIPAA compliant encrypts messages so that even if the email ends up intercepted by malicious individuals, they won’t be able to do anything with it. Luckily, there are many HIPAA complaint email services that businesses can choose from.
2. How Secure is Texting?
By itself, text messaging in healthcare is not secure, and not HIPAA compliant. It might seem like an acceptable solution to simply make a “no texting policy” on site. However, staff will not always follow this policy, and it becomes nearly impossible to reinforce all the time. And a single instance of noncompliance can bring the risk of HIPAA fines. A better policy is to instead install HIPAA secure texting that can transmit PHI without leaving patient information vulnerable to interception. This is also important to have because many patients appreciate the ability to communicate through text and email, speeding up and making more efficient the healthcare process. Healthcare mobile apps are one solution for HIPAA compliance.
3. How Else Can Healthcare Apps Help Out?
Medicaid is one example of a healthcare sector that is greatly assisted by the introduction of electronic applications. These applications can help reduce the amount of paperwork and discussion necessary between patients and healthcare professionals, making the entire process more streamlined and cost efficient. Often, this allows patients to access information instantly and easily regardless of where or when they need it.
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