HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act refers to a collection of federal laws that dictate how a healthcare business is required to create, store, access, and share PHI (protected health information). All healthcare practitioners, regardless of the specific field that they work in, will most likely have to deal with an abundance of confidential information and patient data. HIPAA guidelines help to protect both patients and practitioners by detailing how exactly this information needs to be stored, ensuring that practices are held accountable for the maintenance of their patients’ data. As a healthcare provider, you must have a good understanding of the different HIPAA regulations that impact your work and abide by these at all times. Failure to comply with HIPAA will not only harm your patients but also has significant consequences for you and your business. The fines are immense, and depending on the severity of the breach, you can risk losing your license or even jail time. As technology within the healthcare industry develops, a greater number of tools for private health practices are being implemented. And whilst this is an exciting change, these systems come under HIPAA and must have adequate security measures. In this article, we’re going to explain why HIPAA is so important for remote management software and outline some of the best options for your business, so you can ensure your patients’ protection whilst still making the most of the available technology.
Whenever a healthcare practice uses a vendor to manage or store their PHI, this vendor falls under HIPAA regulations and is required to enter into a business associate agreement. In today’s age, a healthcare business likely uses several different vendors to help maintain its records. HIPAA compliant remote access provides a standardized way for this type of management and storage to be looked after adequately with the appropriate security measures. However, although entering into a business associate agreement is a requirement of HIPAA, it isn’t enough by itself. When you are looking into different vendors, you must conduct research and analyze their security protocols to guarantee the protection and privacy of your PHI. HIPAA requires that all authorized users can access data using a personalized password and authentication controls, and that authorization should be strictly reliant on a need-to-know basis. The vendor and healthcare practice should also be conducting regular audits on the security of the system and tracking every remote attempt to access data, even by authorized users. Additionally, if data is stored in remote servers, the vendors should have physical security measures on-site, including a camera system and personnel if necessary. Complying with every HIPAA guideline can be tricky, particularly given how frequently they are updated and modified. Nevertheless, this is an absolutely imperative aspect of working in the healthcare industry that will help protect both you and your patients. It is a good idea to consistently check the guidelines and conduct regular training programs internally at your practice to ensure that all staff members (both clinical and administrative) are aware of how HIPAA impacts their work. As long as you put the effort in to remain informed and run analyses, there is no reason why the HIPAA compliant cloud storage solution that you operate would breach regulations.
At this point, you may be thinking that it is a safer option to simply manage and store all of your PHI internally, and forgo remote access software. However, although complying with HIPAA can be daunting, these systems have been developed for a reason. Telehealth devices have risen in popularity following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a larger number of healthcare practices have sought solutions to conducting their work remotely. Implementing remote access software is the best option for this, as it allows employees to safely and efficiently work from a remote location. Additionally, whilst you should always conduct your own research into a vendor’s system before implementation, you would be hard-pressed to find a remote access software that isn’t HIPAA compliant. And the systems that fall under this category typically contain much better security than storage at your practice would be able to offer. Being able to audit and track access attempts, both successes, and failures, grants your practice insight into the effectiveness of the system you currently have in place. As you well know, data-driven analysis is the most effective method of identifying areas for improvement, and this type of software enables this. Data collection for healthcare practices is important, and understanding the best way to manage and share this information is also important. Without the right system in place, your practice and its patients are at significant risk of breaching confidential data. However, provided you take your time and find a suitable vendor for your remote access software, you will be facilitating efficient remote working for your business, and elevating your organization and communication.
We have just covered the reasons why HIPAA compliance is so critical when it comes to outsourcing storage of PHI, and now it’s time to look at some of the available options.
SecureLink: SecureLink offers a remote access software solution that has been designed to assist healthcare businesses to manage vendor access. The system can be accessed from a remote browser and has strict controls ensuring only authorized users can be granted access. Data is encrypted using AES-256 encryption, and the system generates audits and tracks all access attempts. These features provide the vendor and the healthcare practice with full visibility, allowing them to identify areas requiring improvement and ensure data is safe and secure at all times.
TeamViewer: TeamViewer has been designed with larger businesses and corporations in mind, offering a HIPAA-compliant software for remote access. Data is encrypted using AES-256 encryption layers, in addition to access authentication features, recent views of user activity, and auditing options. The system also uses a public/private key exchange feature, meaning that even TeamViewer does not have access to private data.
LogMeIn Pro: LogMeIn Pro’s remote access software allows healthcare workers to access files and applications from remote locations. It complies with HIPAA regulations by using access verification methods, password protection, high-quality encryption, and audit controls. LogMeIn Pro’s remote access software also allows authorized users to share files safely, with no limitations on size. Authorization is permitted using a unique ID for each user, and all usage of the system is tracked and audited.
Netop Remote Control: Netop Remote Control offers remote access software for healthcare practitioners. It is HIPAA-compliant, with audit controls, authorization safeguards, password protection, and encryption. Authorized users are given a unique ID for log in, and audits are generated up to the minute, indicating who has access to protected information at all times. Netop Remote Control is also integrated with remote medical devices, so healthcare practices can safely monitor their patient's health from a remote location.
Understanding HIPAA is an imperative aspect of working in the healthcare industry, particularly if you are interested in implementing remote management software. When it comes to systems that store and manage your PHI, we recommend looking into a HIPAA-compliant platform that is integrated with a variety of functions. Practice management software for healthcare practitioners is one of the best current solutions for this type of system. Carepatron’s software offers HIPAA-compliant software that complies with regulations, with encryption, access controls, auditing, and in-person security measures at the location of remote servers. This system is integrated with clinical documentation storage, appointment scheduling, medical billing, and a patient portal, meaning that it can safely store and manage all of your PHI. Using an integrated system is great to your advantage, as it allows you to access all of your information from a single location, elevating your organization and efficiency. When it comes to implementing a remote management software, guaranteeing HIPAA compliance is critical. As you do your research, you should reach out to other healthcare practices and enquire about what systems they currently have in use. Take your time before you make your decision, as not ensuring proper HIPAA compliance can damage both you and your patients.