Why Your Alerting System Needs To Be HIPAA-Compliant
Healthcare organizations have to stay focused on providing the best possible care while maintaining the privacy of their patients. Keeping this balance becomes even more difficult when a crisis hits.
The easiest way to ensure that your organization understands and adheres to HIPAA compliance, especially during a chaotic emergency, is to utilize a HIPAA-compliant emergency notification system for your crisis communications.
What Is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, sets a series of national standards for protecting sensitive patient data. To be HIPAA-compliant, your organization must implement physical and technical safeguards to ensure sensitive patient data is protected.
Physical Safeguards For HIPAA-Compliance May Include:
- Limited facility access
- Controlled access to workstations
- Restrictions for handling electronic protected health information (e-PHI)
Technical Safeguards For HIPAA-Compliance May Include:
- Unique user IDS
- Automatic log off
- Audit reports
- Tracking logs
Who Needs To Be HIPAA-Compliant?
As the use of electronic patient data grows every year, more and more organizations are required to be HIPAA-compliant. There are two classes of healthcare organizations that must be HIPAA-compliant:
Any organization that provides treatment, payment or operations in healthcare must be HIPAA-compliant.
Covered entities include health care providers, health insurance companies and healthcare clearinghouses.
Any organization or vendor who has been contracted by a covered entity and who has access to patient information must be HIPAA-compliant.
Business associates include billing companies, shredding services, IT service providers, etc.
How You Can Benefit From A HIPAA-Compliant Emergency Notification System
As a “business associate,” you’ll want your emergency notification system provider to be HIPAA-compliant.
However, a HIPAA-compliant ENS benefits your organization beyond simply fulfilling a requirement. It simplifies your crisis communications and safeguards both your patients and your employees.
If an emergency requires you and your team members to move locations or causes a system outage, your ability to communicate will be crippled. However, you may still need to share patient information to ensure continued high-quality care. Having a HIPAA-compliant ENS with an intuitive mobile app will enable you to stay connected and informed from any mobile device, without risking a security breach.
Preset Recipient Groups
Preconfiguring recipient groups within your ENS allows you to plan ahead and determine which team members can receive what information. Having these groups preset within the ENS prevents your team members from inadvertently sending protected information to the wrong recipients, guaranteeing you remain compliant no matter the situation.
Keeping your emergency communications within your ENS platform safeguards your data. There are many scenarios, especially in the chaos of an emergency, that could lead to a breach in privacy. A mobile device could be lost or stolen, a message could be intercepted on an open network, an email account could be left open on a shared computer, files could be dropped in a public space, etc. By keeping your communications within a secure ENS, you will not risk compromising your patients’ data or being found non compliant with HIPAA regulations - no matter what happens.
As emergency notifications systems are set up to store personal user data and sensitive messages, ample security is built-in. The rigorous data protections guarantee that only authorized users and administrators will be able to gain access to any patient data that is shared within the tool, maintaining HIPAA compliance at all times.
Maintain Level Of Care
Using an emergency notification system with off-site hosting in redundant data centers allows you to communicate even when your organization's infrastructure is down. This means your level of care doesn’t falter, even during major disasters. Your team members will be able to access any information they need, and even ask for help should the situation call for it.
To learn more about how AlertFind’s secure platform allows you to seamlessly share even the most sensitive patient information, schedule a demo today.
You are well on your way toward protecting your staff and organization.
Take the next step toward protecting your organization by learning more about emergency notification systems and the vital role they play in your emergency preparedness plan.