Smartphones provide a great way for physicians and healthcare professionals to communicate with each other. With the ease of today’s modern communication methods, the possibility of running into a HIPAA violation increases dramatically. As a healthcare professional, what obstacles might you run into when it comes to ensuring a patient’s privacy is protected?
Perhaps the most well-known of these HIPAA violation risks is texting. Sending a message with a patient’s protected health information (PHI) that identifies the patient in any way can result in HIPAA issues. However, there are still instances where a text can be sent safely. For instance, the message does not have any kind of PHI information, it is “minimum necessary standard” compliant, or it complies with HIPAA Security Rules.
Pictures can also pose a HIPPA violation risk. While these are certainly useful for someone working in something like pulmonology, there is still that lingering possibility that the photo may contain identifiable PHI. There are several identifiers that a photo should not have in order for it to avoid containing PHI. Hence, make sure that all of these are identifiers are absent if you’re planning on sending photos to someone such as a colleague.
An effective way to avoid running into PHI issues is to abide by the US Department of Health & Human Services guidelines for risk analysis which include but are not limited to ensuring that proper security protocols are maintained and applied.
This update is by Medical Accounts Systems, a full-service healthcare revenue cycle management company providing a number of services including insurance follow up and managed care disputes, physician reimbursement, hospital extended business office services, and more. For additional information on our services or for any questions you may have on topics such as medical debt collection, please call 877-759-6315.