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HIPAA compliance with document management

By Andreas Rivera bio

Recordkeeping can be one of the most stressful aspects of running a healthcare business since privacy compliance is scrutinized in healthcare more than any other industry. Anyone with experience in the healthcare industry knows that violating HIPAA comes with steep penalties. It’s a constant anxiety to make sure your records are being stored in an appropriate manner, with all the security and privacy requirements being met for each new record added.

Even if you’re being diligent with how you file your paperwork, having physical paper exacerbates the possibility of human error occurring. Most of the time, the most common HIPAA violations usually occur without the facility realizing it.

Here are a few common HIPAA violations when it comes to electronic data storage.

  • Insufficient or lack of access control to private health information. Basically, allowing any employee access to where your electronic health records are stored. Accessing records for reasons other than treatment or payment is a violation.
  • Not removing access to former employees. Whenever an employee leaves, their access to the electronic storage needs to be immediately revoked. You can’t forget things like this.
  • Not using encryption or an equivalent solution for protecting electronic health records.
  • Sharing private health information with personal email accounts.
  • Downloading private health information to personal or unauthorized devices.

A compliance officer or records clerk is often a position for larger facilities with large volumes of records. However, if you’re a smaller facility with limited resources to have a full-time position, a tech solution may be needed in order to avoid the steep penalties of non-compliance that can amount to thousands of dollars per record compromised.

The Last Compliance Tools You’ll Need

Privacy compliance is challenging when it’s just you, paper records, and a filing cabinet. You need to ensure only authorized personnel are handling the records and have access to them, only when it’s related to the patient’s treatment and billing. Certain records related to the patient need to be stored separately from their main file. It takes one time to be careless and misfile or misplace a document.

Digital solutions such as a shared network drive can be easier to handle, but hardly feature the security and privacy tools required by HIPAA. Lackluster cybersecurity is easy prey for hackers targeting you for ransomware.

A document management software can be a lightweight solution for organizing medical records, in a HIPAA compliance environment. Taking your record system paperless allows you to control and automate your security and compliance.

Customizable Security: Create security policies and apply them to different users and user groups. You can set password complexity requirements and even enable multi-factor authentication options.

Role-based Permissions: You can create permission settings that can easily be attached to individual users as well as entire groups of users. Only authorized users will be able to access protected health records, while other users won’t even be able to see them in the system.

Audit Trail and Versioning: The system can log everything that happens to a file, including when it was accessed, by which user account, and if it was changed. You can even revisit older versions of the document to see what exactly was changed.

These are just a handful of features a document management system can provide to not only make filing medical records easier than traditional EHR systems and network drives but provide superior security and compliance tools to make staying in compliance with HIPAA stress-free.

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