Progressively more physician practices, hospital, clinics, and post- acute care organizations are moving ahead with the electronic processing of patient health information (PHI). By doing so they can expect to save on costs and maintain compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The Security Standards of HIPAA consist of a set of complex guidelines built to ensure the protection of PHI. These guidelines include secure access control to patient information and medical records, tracked document actions, the ability to block sensitive data and ensure the staff are appropriately educated on the handling, storing, retrieving, and sending of ePHI, and confidential, sensitive information.
Some chief benefits that HIPAA plays:
- Fosters a culture of compliance and common understanding of “the right way” to handle patient information
- Ensures that every member of a healthcare organization understands the practices necessary to protect both the privacy and security of patients’ and thus create a ‘human firewall’ against a data breach.
- Teaches staff that protecting patients’ PHI is just another aspect of keeping patients safe – as important as infection control, fall-prevention, and medication safety measures.
- Promotes careful handling of PHI to improve patient satisfaction and increases HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) score.
- Increases healthcare provider’s awareness and provides specific instruction about how to keep patients’ records safe.
- Eliminates providers’ need to choose between speed of communication and legal risk by sharing PHI in accordance with HIPAA regulations
- Reduces executive and organizational liability.
- Protects the organization and staff from personal liability. Staff training is required by law.
- Allows for positive differentiation among competitors, as HIPAA compliant practices are seen as more secure as it relates to patient information.
- Helps build a foundation for future technology implementations.
- Proactively helps organizations avoid expensive add-on security measures.
- Reduces medical errors, increase patient satisfaction and trust, improves quality of care, and create operational efficiencies