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Records Management Tips for HIPAA-Covered Entities
Individuals, organizations, and agencies that meet the definition of a covered entity under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must comply with its requirements to protect the privacy and security of the health information they handle. Compliance also means providing individuals with certain rights regarding their health information.
- Health Care Providers: This includes doctors, clinics, psychologists, dentists, chiropractors, nursing homes, and pharmacies if they transmit any information in an electronic form in connection with a transaction for which HHS has adopted a standard.
- Health Plans: This includes health insurance companies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), company health plans, and government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and military health plans.
- Health Care Clearinghouses: These are organizations that process non-standard health information received from another entity or vice versa.
Tip #1 – Train Your Staff
It’s vital that your whole staff is knowledgeable about HIPAA laws and the requirements, and that everyone is adhering to the rules. Your organization is only as strong as its weakest link, so a single employee’s mistake could threaten your compliance or cause a data breach.
Make sure all staff members are familiar with policies for accessing, transmitting, and archiving medical data. Regular meetings and training sessions will keep your staff up to date on the most recent changes to HIPAA rules and internal compliance procedures.
Tip #2 – Use Secure Medical Records Storage
The protected health information (PHI) of patients must always remain private and secure. At the same time, HIPAA grants patients access to and control over their PHI. With updated privacy laws having come into effect in some states and others in months to follow, patients now have even more control over the information entities maintain. Using a professional records management company will help keep medical records secure while making them easily and quickly accessible by authorized personnel.
Tip #3 – Set Up Scheduled Shredding
Since HIPAA requires the secure destruction of physical and electronic personal health information (PHI), adhere to records retention periods and destroy information on time.
Engaging a reputable shredding company for regularly-scheduled shredding will lower your risk of a data breach. Even better, partnering with a full-service records and information management (RIM) provider that combines secure records storage and shredding under one roof will allow for expert records retention, increased information security, and benefit your organization with increased efficiency and cost savings.
Tip #4 – Have a Backup and Recovery Plan
HIPAA-covered entities must have a written data backup and recovery procedure in place, and all employees must be able to implement it immediately should a disaster occur. A full-service RIM partner can also provide file restoration service for damaged records so you can return to normal operation quickly.
Tip #5 – Partner with a Qualified Records Management & Shredding Company
Records Management Center offers full-service records and information management services in Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, Aiken, SC, and the Central Savannah River Areas. Call us at 706-724-7982 or complete the form on this page to connect with our records management and HIPAA compliance experts.