Medical records are filled with highly sensitive, privileged information. Any mishandling of these documents could result in a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA dictates that medical information must be protected by specific privacy standards, and one of the best ways to ensure compliance is to invest in a medical records scanner that automatically maintains privacy protocol. You can accomplish this with a scanner that allows for immediate upload to a patient’s electronic medical record. With the right scanner, your workflow is streamlined, and patients’ privacy is protected.
Why You Should Transition to Digital Medical Records
Most health care facilities have transitioned to digital files due to the many benefits, but some still use paper medical records. Some of the reasons most commonly cited include a lower upfront cost, simpler handling, storage that does not need to be scalable, and easier customization. Indeed, these benefits may make paper records preferable for a smaller practice, but if you happen to run a high-volume facility, paper medical records simply won’t cut it. In addition to the inconvenience, they are typically insecure, too. This can put your patients’ privileged information at risk.
Some administrators may be initially hesitant to transition to digital records. It’s true that the best document scanner may have a larger upfront cost than a filing cabinet, but the savings you can garner in time make it well worth the investment. The lack of security that paper records provide also make them a major liability. A HIPAA violation isn’t just a privacy concern — it’s also a potential expense. In fact, fines can be as high as $25,000 per violation. Transitioning to digital records may minimize the liability you face for such an infraction, which is just another reason why it’s a necessary change.
How to Keep Your Patients’ Information Private
It is the responsibility of every medical facility to keep patients’ information private. Most health care offices do this with tools such as encryption and password protection. Ensuring absolute privacy requires a little more effort than this, though — in fact, you may need to invest in office equipment that simplifies security. A scanner that features technology like Paperstream Capture is a great example of this. This technology optimizes image capturing so that you never have to worry about manually identifying scanned images. In addition to simplifying the process, it can keep documents more secure by automatically identifying information.
With tools like this, you can rest easy knowing that your patients’ information is completely secure. It’s a good idea to invest in additional protections, too, such as a cloud-based storage solution that’s completely encrypted. Be on the lookout for other threats to the security of your files, including potential phishing schemes, network compromises, and hacking. Cyber criminals have been known to target health care facilities because of the cache of sensitive information they often maintain. You can minimize the threat of compromised credentials, though, by maintaining stringent security practices throughout every part of your work.