With all of the worries about identity theft these days, it’s more important than ever for business owners to protect customer data, but in the healthcare field, this concern becomes even more serious. On top of the potential for patient data loss or breach, HIPPA laws govern what and how a medical practice must keep and manage such information, and a simple loss or breach of data can end up costing a medical practitioner dearly.
In fact, a singular instance of a breach or leak of a patient’s medical data can result in fines, fees, civil lawsuits, and even criminal proceedings. As a result, it’s important that you have all of your patients’ records protected using the latest in practice management software.
Requests for Medical Information
Aside from the concern of hacking comes the possibility that your practice may give out patient information to entities that are not authorized to receive such data. All it takes is one slip-up or one oversight to achieve this, and your practice may be done for good.
One example might be where you are treating a patient for a sensitive illness and the media calls up your practice asking for information. Of course, the caller will not state who they are, and in fact, he or she may lie and pretend to be the patient’s family member in order to gain access. If you haven’t truly verified who the caller is and you give out this sensitive information, your practice may be in for some serious trouble.
Education is the Key
While you and your staff certainly need to educate your patients as to their rights under HIPPA laws, you also need to see to it that your staff itself is educated regarding existing and changing rules. Many administrative staff members are so overwhelmed during their day-to-day operations that they aren’t able to keep up with changes to healthcare laws.
The hustle-bustle of a busy healthcare office can lead to mistakes and errors when it comes to giving out patient information to parties who are not authorized to receive such information. Now would be a good time to establish a solid training program, one which would be ongoing, in order to avoid mistakes and errors that could end up costing your practice and your reputation dearly.
Effective, Efficient Healthcare Management Software is the Key
Lastly, consider investing in healthcare management software to take care of the details surrounding patient privacy. Today’s software can help you manage patient records, manage patient record access, and help you keep up with the identities of individuals and organizations that are allowed to have access to such information. Likewise, healthcare software can provide your practice with the ability to focus on other aspects of patient care without worrying so much about file access, giving you more freedom to deliver individualized patient attention.
If you’re concerned about the state of your current practice management processes, or if you’d like to find out more benefits to using practice management software, contact PracticeSuite by visiting www.practicesuite.com.
Last Updated on February 4, 2015