Medical offices in Miami and throughout the rest of the United States, often share confidential data with other employees and patients regularly. Such information might include financial details, employee records and most critically, the medial files of current patients. By law as a business owner, you are responsible for keeping any sensitive matters surrounding your patients, entirely protected. Regardless of your particular industry or business size, this is a responsibility that all business owners have; failing to adhere to such processes, can result in serious consequences. The great news? With the right solutions in place like secure shredding, you can avoid these potential threats. Medical and Health Industries have stringent HIPAA regulations that must be followed, and document destruction is a critical component in these.
Both hospitals and medical facilities circulate and store a substantial amount of personal information, so it’s not shocking that with this brings the potential for more mistakes to occur. Even the smallest error can lead to the exposure of private, patient matters, and often without any knowledge. Patient records are full of identification details that could be sufficient enough to perform information theft, should records be revealed to the wrong individual. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was designed explicitly to stop incidences like this, providing adequate protection for patients and hospitals under the act.
As HIPAA dictates, healthcare facilities are to practice strict measures in an effort to secure patient medical records, at all times. Keep your medical office organized and free from the risks of both government fines and possible lawsuits. Here is a quick guideline to help your medical office remain in full compliance with HIPAA:
Regular, Ongoing Training: Supplying ongoing, up-to-date training for your staff is extremely important when it comes to notifying employees on any changes that have taken place under HIPAA, and other healthcare initiatives. Any employee that views or shares protected health information needs to be knowledgeable in all security processes that have been implemented, to properly maintain and protect patient records. You may wish to provide refresher courses for current staff as this is a great way to re-educate, and gives you the chance to remind employees on what’s expected of them, relative to the protection of private data. Failing to supply proper training can be risky, as in the event a privacy breach occurs in the future, it could mean your employees are left responsible; this is especially true if it’s due in part to improper data security.
Protected Electronic Media: If your hospital or medical office will be making future upgrades to its computer systems or electronic equipment, always keep in mind that electronic data needs to be addressed. Chances are you currently have sensitive business files stored on multiple hard drives; if this is the case and you will be replacing your computer equipment, it is imperative that information is disposed of properly. All hard drives should be professionally shred, ensuring that data is 100% removed and that there is no chance of recovery. Your medical office or hospital must also have suitable online security measures in place for computer systems. Firewalls, email filters, and data leak prevention all work together to aid in protecting critical, patient information.
Public Conversations:This may not seem like a necessary consideration but surprisingly enough, it’s an extremely important one that gets missed all too often. Conversations regarding patient medical records can be just as destructive as exposing information on physical records. Always be cautious of what’s discussed in your work environment; in fact, all private conversations should be held away from public gathering areas for security reasons. These public spots may include waiting rooms, hallways, or elevators, to mention a few. Confidential information can be overheard by other patients or visitors quite easily, without realization. This policy should also be in place for physical documents; patient information needs to stay secure and inaccessible at all times.
Proper Telephone Protocol:A medical office must be extremely careful with what information is revealed over the telephone, and these specific details should be well recognized by your staff. Having said this, there will be certain individuals such as health insurance reps and family members that typically have the authority to obtain patient details, but any other caller should only be supplied with very limited details surrounding a patient’s health. This screening ensures HIPAA policies are being followed as they should.
Quality, Lockable Collection Containers:The majority of offices have collection bins situated in their lunchroom, boardroom, and/or printing stations for the collection of recyclable material. With a document shredding program in place however, we provide you with quality containers that are designed solely for sensitive documents. Fully lockable, these bins and containers are provided free of charge with a shredding program. They should be placed throughout your office in high-traffic areas where they are bound to be used effectively. Any and all documents that no longer need to be stored away and are considered sensitive should be placed in these. Files remain protected from exposure until they are collected by professionals for destruction purposes.
If you operate and manage a medical office and are thinking about outsourcing your destruction needs to a professional, your best bet is to turn to trustworthy and compliant document destruction solutions offered by PROSHRED®, in Miami. We’ll look after your secure document shredding needs so you have nothing to worry about.