Don't Let IM Leave Your Organization Open to HIPAA Fines
August 08, 2016
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor
Wouldn’t life be so much easier without rules and regulations? Especially in the healthcare world, it’s tough to get the job done while also ensuring complete compliance with HIPAA. It was put in place to protect the patient, but can also create bottlenecks that affect the patient experience. The goal for any organization in this space is to find the right balance between the two.
A recent blog by call accounting solution provider, ISI (News - Alert) Telemanagement Solutions suggests that there are ways healthcare organizations can have access to the tools they need, while also staying in compliance. For instance, HIPAA compliant instant messaging is a must as the sheer volume of information moving across different devices is staggering. A failure to comply with HIPAA rules, however, can generate steep fines that can run into the millions of dollars.
An increasing number of organizations are relying on mobility and the transference of communication and data across digital channels. This information is often personal health information, or PHI, and it must be protected at all times. Whether or not the healthcare organization has a policy in place for managing instant messaging (IM), the practice is taking place. This demands the implementation of a proven call accounting solution to ensure the elimination of vulnerabilities.
For instance, if a platform such as Cisco (News - Alert) Jabber is being used to communicate PHI over instant messages, these messages have to be archived in a manner that is HIPAA compliant. The Verba Recording system is one that meets HIPAA security rules when it comes to the protection of PHI. Using such a platform not only ensures compliance, it also helps to reduce errors that tend to take place during hand-off.
The point when patients are transferred between care givers as they begin or end their shifts is known as the hand-off. While a common practice, it’s also one that tends to have more than its share of miscommunications that can cause serious errors that could lead to malpractice suits. With HIPAA compliant messaging backed by a robust call accounting solution, there is a clear audit trail that helps to clear up any disputes, while also helping to reduce errors.
At the same time, such a solution can also help to increase security. Breaches in security have been known to cost hospitals more than $1 billion each year. Any use of unprotected collaboration tools puts the organization at risk. IM provides convenience, but that convenience should not be realized at the cost of breaches or fines for non-compliance.
A HIPAA compliant solution is a must, while a robust call accounting solution helps to ensure the paper trail. When compliance is essential, these tools together provide convenience and protection.
Edited by Alicia Young