Copies of Medical Records and HIPAA Compliance
When it comes to copies of medical records and HIPAA compliance, it’s imperative that those who process release of information requests know the regulatory framework involved. Indeed, because medical records often contain sensitive information directly protected by HIPAA laws, information release must be handled with the utmost safety and care by personnel well-trained in this area.
Copies of medical records and HIPAA compliance is a common area of concern within the industry, and understandably so. Implemented in 2003, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) set a national standard for privacy of health information that appears in medical records that are maintained and transmitted in electronic form by health care providers, health plans, and health clearinghouses.
The fact that there are so many variances and factors involved with HIPAA compliance can make it confusing for anyone handling medical record requests, particularly when there is a large volume. Further, the guidelines for privacy, security, and electronic transmission change often, making mastering the regulatory environment a veritable ongoing training session. So, what’s a health care purveyor to do?
In the medical and healthcare industries, copies of medical records and HIPAA compliance go hand in hand. The best way to assure HIPAA compliance with respect to release of information requests is to utilize a partner who specializes in the medical record copy field and, thus, remains up-to-date on HIPAA rules, regulations and procedures.
When seeking out a knowledgeable document management partner, be sure to focus on these factors:
- Because HIPAA factors change regularly, in addition to the partner firm first thoroughly training new staffers on applicable procedures, it must also provide ongoing staff training and education – to include actual testing on a regular basis to assure the knowledge has been absorbed.
- Good partners will avail a client portal for information about relevant trends and regulatory changes, which helps industry practitioners stay involved and informed.
- Partners who use digital processes to manage medical records and related release of information requests will better assure HIPAA compliance while also creating greater efficiencies and return on investment with the release of information initiative at large.
- HIPAA is an ongoing set of rules and regulations that can make compliance confusing and often frustrating for those supplying copies of medical records. Regular training and testing is key.
- Working with a medical records document management partner focused specifically on the healthcare industry best assures private handling and releasing of confidential information.
- There are many different components to a medical record, each impacted differently by HIPAA laws. An outsourced partner can best assure HIPAA awareness on all fronts.
Fig Gungor is CEO of OneSource Document Management, a New York based company that offers a broad range of customized copy and scanning services that translate into a significant savings for insurance companies, hospitals and large medical facilities.