When looking out for medical answering service reviews, medical practices must hire a HIPAA compliant answering service. It is because such answering services help to find a precise solution to their issues, which give physicians and medical experts more time to care for the patients. If you too are seeking medical answering services for your medical practice, then here check the role of HIPAA compliance in it.
Importance of Phone Answering Services in the Medical Industry
Health staff and physicians are tasked with taking care of patients, keeping them healthy, and storing their information in a secured manner. In an attempt to offer a rich patient experience, most clinics, hospitals, and doctors are deploying answering service for the patients. Such medical answering services relieve internal staff from the burden of handling inquiring patients and let them focus more on patient related issues and offering them better care.
In addition to this, medical answering services offer other additional benefits, which make them highly popular among the medical industry. However, it is extremely essential that you hire medical answering services, which is HIPAA compliant.
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA or 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act aims at offering protection to the privacy of health details of patients shared with medical institutions or entities. Specifically speaking, HIPAA Title II establishes national standards for transacting or processing electronic healthcare details.
Also, this act requires healthcare institutions to implement safe electronic access to health information and remain in compliance with the privacy regulations established by HHS. For this purpose, any service which is interacting or utilizing the health data must hold compliance with HIPAA rules and guidelines.
Significance of HIPAA Compliance for Answering Services
Within this law, every incidence of non-compliance to HIPAA is treated in a highly stern way. If a medical institute or entity is using medical answering services, which is not compliant to HIPAA rules and regulations, then they are subject to the imposition of heavy fines on medical answering service providers as well as a medical institution.
Based on the level of negligence as well as the complexity of the impact the financial penalty can be huge and can lead to a breach of data security. In the worst scenario, it can lead to imprisonment.
Checklist for HIPAA Compliant Medical Answering Services
To be considered as HIPAA compliant, medical answering services must adhere to particular requirements.
- Medical answering service providers must hire a compliance officer who holds the necessary credentials and training for the role.
- Every CSR or customer service representative must undergo specialized training to comply with rules of HIPAA.
- Business associates and employees must not store patient details on external storage devices like phones, laptops, CDs, and USB flash drives.
- Patient details must be stored in an encrypted format.
- One must not transmit text messages including personal health details of a patient.
- Those having access to patient’s information must sign a confidentiality agreement.
Make sure you hire medical answering services, which are HIPAA compliant. For this, you must always check medical answering service reviews before finally hiring it.