If you have a medical practice that makes use of the telephone answering service in order to take care of patient communications, it is important to make sure that it is not violating HIPAA regulations. It is important because if they are not HIPAA compliant, you can be forced to pay a heavy sum of money as fine for violating the guidelines.
All live answering services for small businesses comply with HIPAA guidelines because they want to stay in the market and provide best services. Those businesses who do not comply with the guidelines are not hired by hospitals. By following HIPAA guidelines, the answering services are forced by law not to disclose any personal information of the patient.
In order to ensure that HIPAA guidelines are not being violated, here are a few things that should be kept in mind:
Answering Service Should Not Text Protect Health Information
The answering service employed by you should not only text protect health information as that could violate the HIPAA regulations. All the patient information should be protected in every way possible. If such information is texted to the person, there is still a chance of violating the guidelines as the cell phone can get stolen which will lead to information leak.
Answering Service Should Not Email Patient’s Information
In addition to texting, patient information should not be emailed to the patient as the email address can be hacked. If it is necessary to email the information, the message should be encrypted and then sent.
Answering Service Should Not Give Out Medical Advice
The answering service should not give out any medical advice because only a medical practitioner is qualified to give it. The only medical advice an answering service should give out is to make a call to emergency services who are qualified to give some information.
Answering Service Should be Secure
An answering service which is HIPAA compliant should be ISO 27001 certified. The operators who handle the calls should not write down any patient information on paper or store it at any place that is not authorized to save the information. Even pictures of the information should not be taken by the people working in these centers
Staff of Answering Service Must Have HIPAA training
The Staff working for live answering services for small businesses must have a training in HIPAA in order to be able to follow the guidelines correctly. The staff must have an updated knowledge about these guidelines. Training seminars and other workshops can also be organized for the staff to keep them abreast with the latest guidelines.
If your business follows these guidelines, there will be no violations of HIPAA compliance and you will enjoy a solid reputation as a trusted healthcare service provider.
We hope that if your answering service complies all these above-mentioned points, thee willssients.