Healthcare providers stand on the precipice of a new age of healthcare. On one hand, they must advance their businesses with advancing technology to stay current and competitive. On the other hand, more technology comes at a greater risk for HIPAA violations.
Technology for Home-Based Healthcare
Home-Based Healthcare often has to work in a mobile space. This creates unique challenges to protect data from being compromised. When leaving the traditional clinical or hospital setting you are also leaving behind the safety of the health care organization’s firewall. Devices that are used by the mobile workforce should be encrypted, protected by a password, and any software you use should have a firewall. Portable secured wifi hotspots are often recommended so your team can have a dedicated network that they control.
Automatic Log-offs, Authorised Users, and Secure Messaging
When a company offers end-to-end security automatic log-offs, user authorization, and secure messaging are just a few of the basic things that should be included. Automatic log-offs are a basic security measure to ensure that you are complying with HIPAA. If your device is left unattended it provides protection from anyone being able to access your company’s or the patient’s data. As an important aspect of privacy under compliance, location sharing from provider to healthcare worker or vendor and then to the patient should be shielded.
All access to Protected Health Information (PHI) should be carefully monitored. Having a unique identifier that is issued from the provider to their team so they can log onto their apparatus securely. Being able to remotely pin lock a user's access can be a necessary step if there is suspected suspicious activity. From the care coordination side, supplier vendors, such as DME, diagnostics labs, and others, information needs to be securely shared with only authorized external users as need dictates.
Over 80% of people use text messaging for business and 70% of U.S. consumers appreciate getting texts or emails from healthcare providers (eWeek) Secure texting allows mobile healthcare workers to have the convenience of texting while still maintaining HIPAA compliance by communicating within a private network. Using the previously aforementioned Authorised User sign in healthcare professionals can connect with other authorized users, share texts, images, documents, and videos. This HIPAA Compliance Checklist is a helpful guide to identifying the elements of compliance.
There are many other compliances to be noted. Encryption, password renewal, location shielding, URL expirations, authorized temporary users, data isolation, among the few. At Rainbow Health we meet and go beyond to safeguard our users' privacy.
Benefits of Technology with HIPAA Compliant
Home-based communication can vastly improve with secured technology such as texting. Companies have discovered they have had dramatically streamlined communication with their remote staff and texting has saved each person an average of 6 hours per week. In addition, patients have a greater satisfaction rate when being able to reach out for quick questions and with easy communication. Keeping text communications controlled within an organization allows for the exchange of encrypted, private information with a vastly reduced risk of data being compromised.
We all hear nearly daily news about another company that has suffered a data breach. Cybersecurity is a required part of building healthcare technology. Technology that follows HIPPA’s Security Rule Standards should be putting safeguards into place with a cybersecurity approach to privacy.
The management of passwords can help to reduce risk and enable focused information such as who has accessed what and at what time. Keeping employees from sharing passwords keeps information secure. Generating strong and unique passwords through the use of a password manager can greatly reduce the risk of violations.
The acceleration of health technology has led to unavoidable situations in which the most private information about an individual is transferred, stored, modified, and displayed by technology. The privacy of health information has become a major issue in policy for healthcare organizations, the government, and the patients they serve. As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace and consumers continue to play a greater role in the management of their healthcare through digital health there must be a shift in privacy guidance provided by federal law to reflect these changes.