The chances of your practice being audited for its HIPAA compliance are increasing. This isn’t being driven by government agencies wanting to poke into your practice, but rather by an increasing number of patient complaints around the U.S. In fact, such complaints are the number one reason for a HIPAA audit. The most vulnerable spot in most practices and clinics is the front desk, where your staff gathers sensitive information from new and existing patients. HIPAA compliance is often an issue from the very first patient contact, but not always for the reasons you would think.
The issue of HIPAA compliance makes your front-desk staff more important than they have ever been. Their adherence to HIPAA regulations in how they interact with patients can not only affect how patients view your practice, but also the likelihood of your getting audited for potential HIPAA violations. Of course, if you’re found to not be in compliance, you can face hefty fines and penalties.
If you’re satisfied that your front desk procedures are in compliance with HIPAA regulations, but you’re still using paper forms, it’s time to think again. Paper forms are impossible to completely control, and they pose unnecessary risks of your patients’ sensitive personal and health information being compromised. Using mConsent iPad App to log in your patient’s information keeps it within your secure system from the instant they complete the form.
- Higher risk of HIPAA breaches when paper forms are used to collect patient intake forms, medical history. Paper forms carry the potential for information to be left lying around and stolen, even if your staff is doing everything “right.” For example, forms can be left in the waiting area while patients use the restrooms or attend to child care issues.
- Potential compliance issues when paper forms are left without shredding . If your practice is like most, there are a number of third parties in the office area during the day. People, such as janitors, pharmaceutical sales people, and workmen, can potentially view paper forms left lying around. Conversely, information entered directly into an iPad is password protected.
- Eliminating paper from front office reduces the risk of HIPAA breaches and gives patient confidence and builds trust in the clinic. Your patients will likely have more confidence in your ability to keep their sensitive information secure when they enter it directly into your computer database, rather than write in on a paper form.
- High Risk of Protected Health Information flow through the front desk area on paper forms and non‐authorized persons (other patients) can have access. It’s not just outside contractors and sales people who can potentially view sensitive information. People who should not need know the PHI information too can potentially read this information when your front desk staff is busy with another patient.
SRS Web Solutions can help your practice adopt an iPad system to keep your HIPAA information secure. Call us today at (612-217-4838) or visit us online to request a free demonstration.