Document Management Software Aids in HIPAA Regulation

Steve Breault

Technology has changed the way the world functions today. People today want instant solutions to their problems, technical or administrative, and immediate access to information. With most organizations maintaining millions of records in the form of personal information of their clients, financial statements and policies, compliance with HIPAA is one of the biggest concerns.

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, formulated and enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996. The act has two parts, Title I and Title II, each stating different regulations to be followed with respect to health records. Title I covers availability, portability and continuity of health insurance coverage in the individual as well as group markets. Title II covers accountability of information so as to avoid fraud and abuse of health insurance coverage. It basically covers the Administrative Simplification and requires maintenance of national standards with regard to digital document management of health related information.

It is a wrong notion that HIPAA is only related to healthcare institutes. The law is applicable for all organizations maintaining health records and health insurance information of their employees or clients. This is where document management software can be of tremendous help. The storage and security features of document management software can help you monitor flow of information, retrieve desired data at any time and regulate access to the records.

The Security Rules under HIPAA was formulated and released for compliance in 2003. The law covered different aspects regarding security of information, including administrative, technical and physical safety standards to be followed when maintaining electronic data. With document management software you can easily take care of all these points and ensure compliance with HIPAA. Ways in which document management software can help are:

Administrative safety standards: The access control and privacy settings of document management software allow you to prevent unauthorized access to all type of information. This ensures that the confidentiality of health related data is maintained at all times. As per HIPAA, information related to health insurance should not be accessed by anyone without prior approval. With a document management system, the flow of documents and information, from creation to storage can be easily tracked. This allows you to monitor changes and check if there was any unapproved access.

Technical safety standards: Digital document management allows you to back up all types of information, thus ensuring retrieval in case the data is accidentally erased or modified. This also ensures data integrity, as the copy of original information is always intact in the form of a backup. As per HIPAA, you are also required to enforce data encryption when it is transferred over open networks. Since data can be shared through email or web-based document management, with a professional document management system, you can be completely sure of security of information.

Physical safety standards: As per HIPAA, the software and hardware used for maintaining health insurance records should be in proper condition and free from frequent breakdowns. With the access control features you can ensure that the information is created, modified, stored or deleted by authorized personnel only. This way the information will be accessed only when needed, resulting in better maintenance of both hardware and software. This will also ensure that any personnel coming for repair or maintenance of hardware and software are unable to access any information.

The implementation of Privacy and Security Rules has changed the way health related information is handled by various organizations. Confidentiality is a major concern of both clients and employees when it comes to their health records. Document management software provides a foolproof way to protect the privacy of all information pertaining to your clients or employees and ensure security at all levels.

Steve Breault “DocMeister”

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