Medical data has significant utilities – as vital source of reference for subsequent follow-ups, collaborative clinical management across the clinical network, medical billing, information bank for clinical research, and macro health care policies. While most of the practitioners may have a system for storing, retrieving, and sharing the data across the health care eco-system, they are increasingly susceptible to natural disasters, system-related snag, and hacking from unscrupulous sources. And data lost – either to natural disasters, system-related snag, or hacking – can have wide repercussions:
|It may hamper your ability to coordinate your patients’ clinical administration|
|It may hold you back from contributing to collaborative clinical management|
|It may leave you without evidence while audit inspection, follow ups, or resubmission of your medical bills with Medicare or private health plans|
|It may project you as non-contributory to clinical research, and above all|
|It may depict you as non-participatory in macro health care policy missions|
Because of these likely consequences, not only are physicians obligated to have their medical data stored but also have them secured from the threats mentioned earlier.
Most of the medical data these days are managed on EHR – which is a comprehensive platform for storing, retrieving, and sharing clinical and operational data. While an EHR can integrate clinical and operational functions with unbelievable ease, it is by no means guaranteed that it will stand the test of the threats highlighted earlier. As responsible care providers, it becomes your priority to have backup facilities for data stored in your EHR systems. One easy way to ensure data-readiness is to copy them from your EHR sources to portable USB drives that can be preserved securely elsewhere.
An important thing to remember while converting or transferring medical data into portable USB drives is that care should be taken to encrypt the so transferred data. The significance of encryption is that it will save your stored medical data from being easily decoded by hackers. With HIPAA being severe on breach of patient privacy and safety clause, protecting data privacy has become more than a mere necessity. HIPAA’s security rule comprises required and recommended actions to ensure the security of protected patient health information. Moreover, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, supports HIPAA by imposing stiff penalties on healthcare organizations found guilty of data breaches. Among the penalties: fines up to $1.5 million and the burden of notifying the media (as well as patients) if the breach involves more than 500 records.
Along with this data-back plan and adherence to HIPAA’s privacy and safety norm, medical data should also be made available just in time – power outages should not an excuse as any data not available just in time may well be deemed as data denied. Therefore, physician facilities should have USP facilities to run data centers interrupted.
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Managing medical data management as per HIPAA’s directive could be an extended burden to physicians, who are centrally focused on clinical care. This is where experts may have an interventional role in transforming care providers’ facilities into secure, instant, and HIPAA-compliant data centers. We, Medicalbillersandcoders.com, have been a responsible partner to care providers seeking data-related advice; practices of varied sizes and disciplines across the 50 states in the U.S. have stood to gain from our data backup plans & advice, and been able to respond to HIPAA’s safety and security norms positively. As medical data management continues to influence clinical and operational efficiency, our team of experts in data management is committed to transform your data centers into secure, instant, and HIPAA-compliant.[subscribe2]