HIPAA Medical Record Privacy Federal Mandate
Healthcare providers must remain current with a number of policies, one of which involves legislation regarding HIPAA medical record procedures. Keeping records in line with HIPAA compliance can be difficult, especially since the rest of the world often seems a step ahead of medical records when it comes to technology.
Patients are no longer content to wait while records are copied, faxed, or mailed. The rest of the world is used to lightning-fast dissemination of information. Many patients are demanding electronic copies of records for themselves or for use by other providers. The President seems to agree with this demand, according to the federal government’s electronic medical record (EMR) mandate. Providers must adopt HIPAA compliant electronic record systems by the end of 2014 or face increasing penalties.
Physicians, dentists, and other providers can’t simply convert to any electronic format and begin emailing documents willy-nilly. To ensure HIPAA compliance, you’ll need to adopt some best practices for medical record privacy.
Do Your Homework
You can’t expect an “A” grade if you put this one off to the last minute. You’ve got a bit over a year to research EMR software, select the best vendor, and implement strong HIPAA medical records procedures in your office. You can’t afford to wait, as it could take an entire year to get the job done.
If possible, select a vendor that specializes in your niche. Record needs for a small physician’s office are different from those of an imaging facility, which are different still from a physical therapy clinic. Always select a vendor that has documented HIPAA compliant procedures.
Take Time for Training
Even if you install EMR software with the best bells and whistles, you risk exposing patients’ private information if you don’t train your staff on the new processes. Training should include software how-to and annual HIPAA reviews.
Once you’ve got your EMR in place and scanned in all paper records, understand what you need to keep and what you’re allowed to shred. As a HIPAA compliant shredding company, we can help you determine the best means of destroying sensitive information quickly and affordably.