October 6, 2022
With staffing shortages hitting every industry, businesses are moving as many processes and functions as possible to a digital format. The healthcare industry is no different. One way of increasing administrative efficiency is by implementing a HIPPA compliant electronic health record (EHR) system to store protected health information (PHI).
While the benefits of using an EHR are clear–reduced physician time spent on administrative work, fewer human errors– the ECRI Institute found that patients are concerned about healthcare providers protecting their PHI. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) legally requires healthcare providers to safeguard PHI. Recent research has shown that it’s in the provider’s best interest to go above and beyond requirements in protecting PHI.
Besides the obvious consequence of unintentional violations (think: substantial fines), compliance breaches erode patients’ trust and perceived quality of care. That loss of trust converts to profit loss, since it costs 90% less to retain current patients than it does to attract new ones.
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach report, healthcare accounted for 9 percent of all data breaches, which is third most out of 20 industries. To avoid data breaches, choosing a HIPAA-compliant EHR vendor is the first step in maintaining reliable security and patient trust. Providers must create their own processes and communicate them to patients to ensure the organization is complying with the law and keeping patient data safe.
According to the law firm McGuireWoods, covered entities, such as providers with EHR systems, must have “administrative, physical, and technical safeguards that reasonably and appropriately protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the electronic PHI that it creates, receives, maintains, or transmits.” McGuireWoods details how to ensure your practice is going that extra mile to establish and maintain patient trust, as outlined below.
Internal procedures enhance EHR security
While most EHR’s will have a data-centric security approach in which data controls and intelligence are built into the software, providers must continually assess their policies and procedures on the exchange of patient information through their EHR:
Basic EHR best practices
When initiating your EHR system, setting up the proper privacy and security protocols is essential. McGuireWoods recommends the following for all EHR users:
Determining who needs access to PHI within the EHR
If your practice provides physicians access to PHI within your EHR, here are some points to consider:
While it may seem overwhelming and maybe even overkill to instill these measures, it’s undeniably worth your while. As previously mentioned, it’s easier and cheaper to maintain repeat customers versus attracting new ones. Additionally, a patient loyal to your practice will help boost your reputation and referrals, since electronic word of mouth has taken over traditional marketing strategies.
Once a provider has gone through the work of inputting these safeguards to protect patient data, don’t forget to inform your patients of the added security benefit of choosing your practice! While we wish the behind-the-scenes work in protecting PHI data was common knowledge, it most certainly is not.
Work with your marketing team to incorporate messaging around your PHI and EHR security enhancements. Incorporating both traditional tactics like flyers and pamphlets in the waiting and patient rooms, and digital efforts such as email, video, blogs, and ad placements, will help increase patient awareness and trust in your practice to solve their health needs.
As one of the first companies providing EHR software, ChartLogic makes the process easy and secure. Our software works with your workflows, making the office work easy, manageable, and HIPAA compliant. Check out our case studies detailing similar examples, or schedule a demo with a solutions expert today!
In addition to offering HIPAA compliant software solutions, ChartLogic has a dedicated team of IT specialists that will evaluate your equipment, network, system performances, and security settings and compare them with industry best practices. This free IT Systems Assessment includes a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Survey (Q&A with practice leader or HIPAA administrator) among many other things. To schedule your free IT Systems Assessment, click here!