How Answering Services Help Physicians Stay HIPAA Compliant In An Online World
In 2016, a cardiology group comprised of five physicians paid a $100,000 HIPAA settlement due to their use of an online calendar. By posting clinical and surgical appointments for patients on an Internet-based calendar that was accessible to the public, the practice was found in violation of basic HIPAA requirements meant to safeguard patient information appropriately.
It’s true that the cloud offers many ways to improve efficiency and share content and is often tempting to use for applications such as an online calendar. However, this presents numerous privacy pitfalls, particularly for those in the medical and healthcare industries.
Certainly, the cardiology group wasn’t aware that they were putting their patient’s health information (PHI) at risk. But failure to do a PHI risk analysis is often cited as an alleged violation of HIPAA violations. HIPAA risk analysis is the foundation for safeguarding electronic PHI. The risk analysis must prevent violations and lead to the implementation of a risk management strategy.
One tool that’s incredibly helpful for physicians and others in the healthcare industry is an answering service web portal, but not all medical answering services offer this feature. Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. offers advanced web portal technology that enables physicians and staff members to communicate securely and easily. The web portal is not accessible to the public and offers many communication advantages such as:
- Physicians and staff members can view all messages that the medical answering service has taken, anytime from virtually anywhere.
- Physicians are able to add notes to each message.
- Colleagues and staff can view any notes the physician has added to each message.
- Colleagues and staff have the ability to send the physician secure messages from the web portal.
- Physicians or staff members are able to add to or change the on-call schedule.
With the use of tools such as the web portal and the miSecure messaging app, Voice Link representatives ensure that every single patient’s health information remains confidential. Our representatives are trained and tested every six months to be HIPAA compliant. Voice Link can also schedule appointments and generate customized reports.
Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. was launched nearly 30 years ago in order to meet the unique communication needs of those in the medical field. As a leader in HIPAA risk analysis strategies, owner and CFO JoAnn Fussell helped develop the Association of TeleServices International’s HIPAA/HITECH Compliance Assistance Toolkit.
Operating out of Columbus, GA, Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. has earned an 82% referral rate for medical telecommunication needs. Secure communications and prompt, professional call answering services save our clients’ time and money while improving patient satisfaction.