The importance ofhealthcare education is often overlooked, especially regarding privacy and security laws such as HIPAA. Ratified into law in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act exists to protect theprivacy and securityofapatient’s personal health information. This helps to ensure that sensitive patient information is kept under a watchful eye andiscarefullyreinforced throughout themedicalfacility.
Following the rules may seem like a simple task, but HIPAA is a complicated and extensivefederallaw that requires total adherence. In fact, some of the most egregious HIPAA violations comefromneglecting these three critical issues.
Loss or Theft ofTechnologicalDevices
Losing any sort of personal device is a hassle, but the loss of technology with access to unsecured ePHI can be simply devastating. ePHI can include a patient’s SSN, diagnosis information, prescription notes, and treatment plans. If this information is lost or stolen, a significant fine can be placed on the offending medical practice.
There have been several recent settlements regarding PHI on stolen phones, tablets, and other work-related devices. Keep allsensitive technologyencrypted with strong EHR services, and don’t allow importantdevices to go unsupervised for long periods of time.
Disposing of Records Improperly
Once a patient record is outdated or otherwise disposable, your first instinct might be to simply toss it into the trash can or dumpster outside. However, improperly eliminated health records have caused problems for hundreds of patients and medical professionals alike. Social security numbers, medical procedures, and other forms of PHI must bephysicallyshredded or completely wiped from a work device to prevent identity theft or otherunauthorized access.
The improper disposing of PHI also includesdigitallyremoving it from the facility itself. The posting of medical information about the deceased by healthcare workers has been the subject of severalrecentlawsuits. Think carefully about where you place your patient’s physical and digital files.
Without the proper training, many healthcare workerswill beunaware of standard HIPAA requirements, leaving a facilityvulnerableto violations, lawsuits, and other legal action. HIPAA may seem like a confusing maze of jargon and mandates, but you won’t need to learn about it all on your own.
We atMedcom pride ourselves onanunbendingcommitment to quality andourdedication to hardworking medical professionalsnationwide atuniversities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. For over 50 years and counting, we continually strive to provide the latest and most pertinenthealthcare education possible for the betterment of professional, patients, and the posterity to come. For more information about HIPAA and the educational tracks we offer, reach out to us today.