The Latest Healthcare IT Advancements for HIPAA
- Posted On September 29, 2020
- Posted By Vu Nguyen
In an ever-changing society that is developing rapidly with technology, maintaining HIPAA requirements is critical to IT advancements. Fortunately, this is possible with secure logins and encryption files that give only those with permission access to private and confidential information. IT professionals have been working and building databases and advancements that, when outsourced, medical facilities can utilize the newest trending advancements and stay ahead of their competition.
Those medical facilities who have not made the transition to these advancements are falling behind and unable to keep up with others in their industry. Below are some of the latest healthcare IT advancements for HIPAA as it embraces a technological foundation for storing and releasing medical records of patients everywhere.
Opting for a telehealth appointment is an option in many healthcare facilities today. While it was slowly rising before the COVID-19 pandemic, the onset of CDC guidelines and social distancing paved the way for telehealth visits to increase substantially. These visits are scheduled between a patient and a doctor, counselor, or other medical staff to discuss their progress and any health concerns they may have. These meetings adhere to all HIPAA regulations and maintain the privacy and protection of the patient.
For patients who live rurally and do not have immediate access to specialists or counselors for mental or behavioral health, telehealth gives these patients access to a resource they did not otherwise have. Being able to meet with your physician, counselor, or other health care provider virtually is something that many patients have found to be very convenient. They can remain in the comfort of their home and visit with their doctor via a smartphone or other mobile device to see each other and have a consultation just like they would in person.
2. Online Portal Access
With so many healthcare facilities using databases and clouds to store patient information, the use of patient portals online has grown substantially. Patients are not able to securely access their medical records and have confidential conversations with their physician or counselor. Securing and encrypting this information for patients maintains its HIPAA compliance so that they can easily access their data.
Like paper records, only medical staff would have access to these portals, and it is not available for additional patients to view. Each patient is provided their login, password, and unique security questions in many cases to verify their identity before accessing the information.
3. Maintaining Electronic Records
Shifting from paper records and charts to an electronic database is on the rise in the healthcare industry. Most of the more extensive networks across the healthcare industry have moved into a safe and secure database that is electronic, storing old medical records and housing new records in one place. With these electronic records, information regarding an individual patient is kept together and stored centrally for easy access. Doctors and other medical staff members can more accurately assist patients and their needs while maintaining HIPAA compliance.
As more and more facilities continue to adopt these practices and maintain electronic records for their patients, the delivery of medicine and treatment will be more consistent at the local, state, and even federal levels. With these databases come several levels of security that keep the patient’s personal information confidential. With many of these facilities choosing IT consulting services, they have access to larger network bands that can accommodate their growing records and space needs. There is also a more secure level of protection.
4. Self-Service Kiosks
Being able to access medical records when a patient needs them has not always been easy for patients. With self-service kiosks in large medical centers, patients can access their information as they would on their portal. For those who do not have internet access at home or need to access their records, they can do so through these kiosks that are designed with the same security features as the patient portal to maintain HIPAA compliance.
These are used for larger medical systems with lots of hospital registrations or need to check-in for lab assignments that they have received from their physicians. Patients who are concerned with safety and releasing too much information to staff members find these kiosk options useful and ideal for their needs when they are visiting a medical facility. Once they access their data, they become responsible for any documentation they take away from the kiosk and reducing the risk of staff members violated HIPAA.
5. Wireless Communication
One of the growing trends in hospital systems and other facilities is the use of wireless communication. For many decades, the use of phones and overhead speakers was used and heard by all in the facility. Taking advantage of secure chatting and instant messaging, hospital staff members can communicate wirelessly to assist their patients without compromising their personal information to others who may be within the range of hearing.
Like any other technology, these chats must be used on secure networks where only medical staff can access the information, and it cannot be released into public communication options. This also keeps a log of working with the patient and accessing their information, all while maintaining security practices.
Maintaining HIPAA With IT Advancements
While some of these advancements have been used in other industries and used personally for some time, it has not always been possible to adopt these advancements in the medical industry. Maintaining HIPAA guidelines and protecting patients is crucial to any technological advances made in the healthcare industry.
There are some healthcare facilities still looking to make that transition into a more technological approach to patients, medical records, and maintaining HIPAA. If this sounds like something your facility needs, then you should consider IT professionals to get your facility where it needs to be and provide these convenient services for your staff and patients.
If you would like more information or schedule a consultation, contact us at VN Consulting today for more details. We look forward to assisting you with all of your IT needs.