The creation of the HITECH Act has meant many changes to the way the healthcare industry is required to handle personal health information (PHI). In an industry that collects, processes, and shares so much of the personal information of its patients, medical facilities have a special responsibility to remain compliant with security regulations. An enterprise content management (ECM) solution from URM Technologies can steer medical offices through digital security challenges such as staying up to date on HIPAA compliance, protecting stored PHI, and creating safe data sharing between staff and patients.
The History of HITECH
As explained by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) was passed in 2009 to “establish programs to improve healthcare quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health IT, including electronic health records and private and secure electronic health information exchange.” The HITECH Act is set out to more strictly enforce the 1996 HIPAA regulations, as well as to administer laws that protect patient information and reduce security breaches.
While HIPAA regulations for data privacy have been used to monitor the healthcare industry for years prior to the establishment of the HITECH Act, HITECH strengthens the enforcement of the HIPAA rules and applies severe financial repercussions for noncompliance. For healthcare establishments wishing to avoid fines, it is key to stay updated on HIPAA’s policies, get proper education and training, implement regular audits, and be prepared with an incident response plan. Because being HIPAA-compliant means staying on top of new regulations, it is a challenge for any medical facility to handle it alone. To best protect your patient information and guard your establishment against incurring fines, look to a professional information management service that specializes in the healthcare industry. As an active member of ARMA, NAID, and PRISM, URM Technologies is keyed-in to every aspect of HIPAA compliance so your data security is never a worry.
Protecting PHI From Data Breaches
Another often challenging requirement of staying HITECH-compliant is protecting digital data from security breaches. Under the HITECH Act, all data breaches of PHI are required to be reported to any individuals whose data was jeopardized. Furthermore, data breaches come with monetary fines that can add up tremendously, leading countless medical facilities into bankruptcy. Luckily, digital data enables workforces to provide much more stringent information security through password protected and heavily encrypted data storage. Specialists like URM Technologies provide cutting edge Konica Minolta machines to safely scan and digitally sort information while providing monitoring and auditing of information throughout the entire document cycle. With this said, even hardcopy information is disposed of with highly secure, and HIPAA-compliant shredding services to remove any lingering security threats.
In an industry where keeping information safe is such a high priority, it is not surprising that one of the challenges of HITECH compliance involves how information is shared. The HITECH Act requires that all electronic health records be accessible to the patient themselves while also promising a secure connection and encryption for the data. To meet this challenge, URM Technologies offers Konica Minolta machines equipped with features such as bizhub SECURE data encryption. Stored digital information can easily be shared between healthcare professionals and patients, as well as between medical offices without fear of a leak.
Government regulations like those outlined in the HITECH Act can sometimes be intimidating to manage. Preparing your healthcare organization with an Electronic Content Management plan through URM Technologies is a great way to avoid any potential legal and monetary repercussions, as their top priority is to best protect the privacy of the patients you serve. For more information contact a URM team member today.
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