How New Technology Might Affect HIPAA Compliance

Posted on Dec 21 2018 - 6:27pm by Editorial Staff

Technology can be a wonderful tool, but is it always a good idea for those in the medical field? With many medical professionals using their personal phones and tablets, it is important to understand how compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act might be affected. When HIPAA is not followed, medical facilities risk personal information getting out there in the public eye. This could lead patients to lose money and more.

There are several forms of frequently used communications that are not compliant with HIPAA. This includes things like text messaging, email, and Skype. This is because there are copies of the messages that are left on the server of the service provider. The hospital or healthcare organization will have no access to that server to protect patient information.

Security Rules for Technology with HIPAA

There are several specifications that should be followed when using any kind of technology in the medical field. These must be followed to ensure HIPAA compliance for apps and other software being utilized by medical professionals.

  • PHI or Protected Health Information must be encrypted. Encryption must be done both during transit and while being stored.
  • Each medical professional that accesses the information must have user identification. This identification allows for monitoring during use. Log in must be done from each device, and the person will not be able to remain logged in. This security feature will prevent any unauthorized visit to medical records.
  • The technology used must have an automatic log off. This will prevent unauthorized access to PHI while on a desktop computer and mobile phone.

In addition to in-house technology, the technology used by outsourced services must also be HIPAA compliant. For example, guarantees medical professionals full compliance with laws regarding patient data privacy. Similar guarantees should be offered by any other outside company being used by medical professionals.

Using Technology Correctly

IT in healthcare certainly has its benefits. There have been several medical facilities where they have had great success in using secure texting solutions. The healthcare facility has seen a greater instance of communications which helps the workforce be streamlined and productive. Patient satisfaction has also been noted during this process. Here are some more incentives of using a secure system:

  • Nurses, first responders, and on-call physicians can respond quickly while on the go. This helps to create a faster treatment plan and faster communication for the patient’s needs.
  • Documents, videos, and images can be attached to secure text messages. This can help to diagnose people faster.
  • The administrative process can be greatly improved by using texting in healthcare settings. Hospital discharges, as well as admissions, can be greatly improved. This can help to minimize patient wait times which are a common source of complaints about hospitals.
  • Activity reports that are done by text can be simplified. They will help improve time and effort.

It is important in today’s world that physician-patient privilege is held to the utmost importance. There has been a recent uptick in hackers trying to steal people’s personal information, and the medical field is not as safe as people would like it. That is why it is so important for the entire healthcare industry to make sure that everything that they do and use is compliant with HIPAA. Failure to make sure that all personal information is stored securely can result in medical records being released to random hackers. It is imperative to make sure that all security measures are taken. Technology does have its place in the medical field, but it must only be used in a secure fashion.

About the Author

Editorial Staff at I2Mag is a team of subject experts.