The Competitive Advantage of Compliance Part I. HIPAA

Increasingly more physician practices and medical organizations are moving forward with the electronic processing of patient health information (PHI) in order to stay competitive within the healthcare sector and abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Security Standards of HIPAA consist of complex regulations built to ensure the safeguarding of PHI. These regulations include secure access control to records, tracked document actions, the ability to block sensitive data and ensuring the entire staff is properly trained on digital information management procedures.

Whether a physician’s office, medical biller, insurance firm or related entity, organizations can skip the hassle of upholding to HIPAA standards by implementing a document management solution. By doing so, healthcare organizations can seamlessly transform medical records into secure, electronic files to ultimately streamline the management of patient care and easily adhere to the challenging requirements of HIPAA compliance.

For years, patients have been encouraging doctors to use electronic paperwork which, in return, delivers valuable distribution and direct collaboration. For example, records can be seamlessly shared between physicians, hospitals and insurance providers to eliminate the bottlenecks often seen by patients when acquiring healthcare. Also, using electronic health records makes it possible for patients and their doctors to communicate via email to discuss their health and partake in Q&A. Furthermore, physicians can connect with insurance providers and pharmacies through immediate file sharing to ensure prescriptions are processed and available for patients as efficiently as possible.

Plus, as a HIPAA complaint facility, healthcare organizations are gaining more patient trust. Of course, patients are concerned with the privacy and security of records in healthcare facilities, due to the high risks involved with electronic processing. But under HIPAA, it is required that sensitive data is protected at the best interest of patients, which involves setting strict guidelines and privacy regulations internally and with third party medical providers. The robust technology of document management software provides secure password protection to keep patient worry at bay, while making it easy for hospitals and healthcare providers to properly adhere to privacy laws.

To stay competitive, medical practices today see HIPAA and patient security as a better way of directly addressing patient concerns. In fact, healthcare practices that have embraced electronic document management to help tackle patient record security are positively differentiating themselves from the competition.

As a fully integrated database security system, GlobalSearch Document Management is equipped with built-in, proven technology accommodating all HIPAA Security Standards, including organization-wide record retention automation. GlobalSearch also automatically monitors and tracks all user and document activity to ensure the set guidelines are met. Plus, through the granular security of GlobalSearch, open access to patient information is restricted and only attainable by authorized personnel as needed.

HIPAA requires organizations to implement a system to record and examine all activity and use of electronic protected health information. Within this system, policies must be set company-wide to protect data from being wrongfully modified. Ultimately, in order for organizations to abide by HIPAA policies they must reasonably limit and heavily monitor the accessibility and sharing of PHI. Security and auditing tools embedded within GlobalSearch allow for the full confidentiality of stored records. GlobalSearch’s full-bodied security platform eliminates privacy risks by allowing administrators to assign users with specific rights to individual archives and files, depending on their needs. Its built-in encryption technology helps to avoid unauthorized access to PHI transmitted through the network. GlobalSearch also provides an automated, detailed audit trail to consistently track the activity, course and modifications of each record. Its singular repository automatically logs which user performed an action to a document, which documents were modified, where within a document changes were made and when the action occurred. Actions tracked by GlobalSearch include document views, data alterations and adjustments, use of annotations, the route and release of records, document deletion and electronic signatures. These log features ensure the authenticity of documents by proving the identity of who accessed what to deliver proper accountability.

To further secure PHI, GlobalSearch provides the power of redaction, to block out confidential data. Users can conceal individual words or areas of documents to hide private patient information when sharing records. GlobalSearch can remove sensitive data like patient name and address, dates of visit, medications provided and social security number among other confidential information. By “burning” redactions on to a patient medical record, recipients of that document cannot view the blocked out information or undo the redaction.

Upholding HIPAA compliance is a challenging task. As new healthcare regulations emerge, physician offices and healthcare organizations must adhere accordingly, in order to stay viable. The technical safeguards of GlobalSearch Document Management can simplify how healthcare facilities handle patient healthcare information to effortlessly transform them into a HIPAA compliant provider.

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