If you’re part of the healthcare industry, you know the importance of protecting the personal information of your patients. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it’s also a wise business practice.
Secure messaging not only applies to your organization but also to your business associates (BA), such as your medical answering service. And while most medical answering services are quick to claim they offer secure messaging, not all of them do. That’s why it’s critical to make sure all your business associates, including your medical answering service, meet the industry’s highest standards.
Here are the benefits you can enjoy when you use secure messaging from your medical answering service:
Today’s leading-edge secure-messaging platforms are in full compliance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). HIPAA regulations require you to secure the protected health information (PHI) of your patients.
This applies to information within your office and information as it is transmitted, be it through the internet or over the airways to the smartphones and mobile devices of your staff. The truly HIPAA-compliant secure-messaging system will keep your patients’ personal information secure from unauthorized sources.
In parallel to HIPAA is HITECH, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. HITECH layers on additional compliance standards for healthcare organizations. The HITECH Act builds upon the foundation established with HIPAA. It increases the range and scope of privacy and security requirements as stipulated under HIPAA.
Most notably is that HITECH increases the legal and financial liability for noncompliant healthcare providers. In addition HITECH provides for the more effective enforcement of violators. HITECH-compliant secure messaging from your medical answering service will protect you from violations relating to the transfer of information from your medical answering service to your office or personnel when they aren’t in the office.
Protect Patient Information
Your patients don’t likely care about HIPAA compliance or HITECH compliance. What they do care about is that their personal health information is protected and safe. When you use secure messaging from your medical answering service, you can assure patients their personal information is secure at all times.
Enhance Provider Confidence
Not only are your patients concerned about keeping their personal information private, but providers also want to have the confidence they’re handling patient information properly as they go about their normal activities. This includes receiving urgent information from their medical answering service on their smartphone or mobile device in after-hours situations.
Easy to Use
Did you know that not all secure messaging platforms are the same? Some require you to download an app. Apps need to be maintained and updated periodically. They are also a source of vulnerability. The best secure messaging systems do not require an app and do not store information on mobile devices. These two features provide peace-of-mind for your users.
Although the obvious application of secure messaging is to safeguard protected health information during transmission to mobile devices, secure messaging can protect other information, too. This includes financial data, proprietary information about your organization, and other critical material you want to keep confidential even though it may fall outside of HIPAA and HITECH guidelines.
Using secure messaging to transmit private healthcare information is more than a good idea. It is required by law, and it is good business. Make sure your medical answering service uses the best secure messaging platform available.
Learn more about secure messaging from MedConnectUSA and get a free quote to find out just how affordable their critical communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.