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Compliance and Remote Working

Compliance and Remote Working

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a drastic change in people’s lives and the business world. Even healthcare technology witnessed major advancements like telehealth, virtual medical assistance, and automated medical apps and software. Although, the transformation of the healthcare industry is running successfully, however, protecting compliance regulations is a bit concerning for healthcare organizations. And true to that, healthcare service providers and patients are not exempted from any compliances or regulations.

The Need for HIPAA Compliance

US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) mentions that medical services suppliers and different entities managing protected health information (PHI) should move to modernized tasks, including:

  • Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) frameworks
  • Electronic health records (EHR)
  • Radiology
  • Drug store
  • Lab frameworks

They should prioritize HIPAA consistency all the time. While integrating HIPAA guidelines with advanced technology provides expanded proficiency and versatility, they also improve the security of medical infrastructure against cybercriminals.

 

HIPAA Privacy Rule

The HIPAA privacy norms address the utilization and disclosure of people's well-being (health) data (known as "ensured well-being data") by substances subject to the privacy rule. These people and associations are designated "covered elements."

There are some security measures that should be maintained to protect HIPAA compliance.

  • HIPAA in telehealth
  • HIPAA compliance video conferencing
  • How to be HIPAA compliant virtually
  • How QASource ensures following HIPAA compliance
  1. HIPAA in Telehealth – (Work From Home Guidelines)

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers used remote communication technologies to communicate with patients and provide telehealth services.

    During this time, health care professionals relied on any non-public facing remote communication product to provide telehealth services to patients using audio or video communication technology such as Apple FaceTime, Google Hangouts video, or Skype. When using such tools, providers should inform patients that these third-party applications may pose a privacy risk, and when employing such applications, they should use all available encryption and privacy options.

    Healthcare providers encounter cyber-security and HIPAA issues when working from homes such as phishing emails, security breaches during video conferencing, and data breaches. Consider the following suggestions for keeping patient data private and secure while working from home:

    • Examine your company's workstation use policy, particularly the part about remote access
    • Establish guidelines if you don't already have them in place
    • Determine if employees will use their own devices or those provided by the company
    • All employee devices, as well as their permissions levels to access sensitive information, should be documented and inventoried
    • Create a daily communication plan for managers and employees
    • Review your HIPAA training and the definition of a data breach
    • Make use of encrypted email and go over all of your data backup methods
    • Examine phishing email instances with your team, particularly those including COVID-19 as scammers are using phishing emails to make profits by scamming people
    • Passwords and logins for hardware and software should not be shared
    • Using a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing the workplace network remotely.
    • Use a secure wi-fi network to access workplace information rather than a public wi-fi network
    • Don't save information on public Google Drives or thumb drives
    • Update all software, operating systems, and anti-virus software on your home computer
    • Establish IT escalation procedures to help employees and talk about how to utilize devices at home
    • Patient records should not be printed at home. Obtain a HIPAA-compliant shredder if necessary
    • Track all company mobile devices and enable device wiping in the event they are misplaced

    The HIPAA guidelines on remote patient monitoring affect healthcare organizations or any doctor who provides online counseling to their patients. HIPAA privacy rule implies direct communication of doctor and patient remotely. Most people think that the communication between remote patients and doctors is acceptable, but it is only possible when they follow HIPAA guidelines

    Sometimes when doctors want to provide HIPAA compliant telehealth services, it is expensive as well as complicated. Some organizations like Microsoft offer Skype for business, which is a HIPAA-compliant tool.

  2. HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing

    While evaluating video conferencing tools, people consider factors like screen sharing capabilities, recording capabilities, the maximum number of persons attending the meeting, and the maximum duration.

    Today, around 1 billion patients are attending telemedical appointments. Due to this, HIPAA compliance video conferencing tools are an urgent need in the healthcare industry.

    Some of the HIPAA compliant video conferencing software are:

    • Zoom for Healthcare
    • RingCentral for Healthcare
    • GoTo for Healthcare
    • VSee

    These tools help to improve the entire telemedicine experience and meet security standards. Also, these HIPAA compliant video tools help with different functionalities like providing assistance with scheduling appointments, providing medical advice, and doing regular checkups.

  3. How to be HIPAA Compliant Virtually

    In order to ensure that you are HIPAA compliant, follow the below-mentioned practices:

    • Share patient health information only with authorized users: It increases the security of data if only authorized users can access the patient's health information. It can be done when the software used for communication is secured. For this, software testing in the healthcare domain must be done to ensure the security of the software.
    • Protect the integrity of PHI by using secure communication: While communicating with patients, healthcare providers must use secure applications to share patient health information and medical advice. They can’t use unsecured communication like SMS, Email, and Skype to share confidential health data.
    • Follow privacy rules: The privacy rule ensures that patients' and other parties' information stays confidential. It also allows the health worker to only share the important data to protect patients' health.

      One of the most important aspects of this rule is the notice of privacy practices. Covered entities like health plans and healthcare clearninghouses must be created and updated as this document helps patients to stay informed about how their personal information is being used.

    • Follow the security rule: The security rule requires organizations to establish and maintain physical, organizational, and technological precautions to protect PHI.
  4. How QASource Ensures HIPAA Compliance

    We at QASource follow the practices mentioned below to ensure that the client data is safe and secure while assuring that we adhere to HIPAA compliances:

    • VPN - Virtual Private Network: Remote working frequently implies interfacing your PC with the organization's virtual private network.

      QASource ensures VPN security by utilizing a strong conceivable verification strategy. Every VPN connection has its unique IP, username, and code.

      QASource improves its encryption strategy for VPN access and uses only an official VPN. Use of public networks on official work computers is prohibited. We ensure our system is fully patched and updated before connecting to clients' VPN/remote network.

    • IT access and controls: Due to some IT security concerns, QASource works on blocking access to suspicious web pages, any unauthorized hardware devices, and online applications, including any extra controls on systems.

      IT generally knows what's happening. For instance, assuming somebody attempts to save/install/run any software, an organization-possessed PC should prompt them to get in touch with IT. In the event they endeavor to get to records, they don't have any permission for, logs should be made following that entrance back to a particular client record and gadget.

      QASource ensures the below-mentioned system security measures:

      • IT -banned items

        • Personal laptop/desktop/iPad
        • Personal USB storage media, HDD/CD/DVD.
      • Hardware Security

        • System BIOS is password protected and locked.
        • CD/DVD writer is disabled.
        • Any external USB storage is disabled.
    • Data Storage and Transfer: QASource as an organization depends on cloud or server data storage. So, it ensures that the client and company data is secured in the following ways:
      • By consistently using assigned SFTP only for any data transfer
      • By keeping passwords and login information safe for hardware and software.
      • By turning on two-factor authentication for online cloud drives and confidential data
    • Non-disclosure of agreement (NDA) and PHI training for the members: QASource ensures maintaining the confidentiality of customer information. All these are part of NDA and are followed strictly. NDAs are meant for both organization and its members, however frequently they're one-way, meaning they explicitly safeguard the organization and its data.

      NDAs commonly cover points like "safeguarding delicate data," including things like innovations your organization is creating and the names of its clients, as well as "disclosure of secret data to anybody outside the organization."

 

What's Next?

HIPAA protects the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI) and we must comply with HIPAA.

QASource as an organization has the objective to guarantee that all stored and transmitted patient data remains secure, confidential, and accurate. This rule applies to a wide range of digital information, including electronic health records, cancer reports, lab data information, waybills, and test results. It doesn't matter if a doctor is accessing the lab tests from a mobile or has a remote video conference with patients, the system is following HIPAA guidelines for information security. To know whether you are following HIPAA practices when developing software or mobile applications, contact QASource now..

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Disclaimer

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be considered legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out of this information and encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.