The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, requires healthcare providers and workers to keep certain patient health information protected and confidential. However, with the advent and rise of electronic healthcare communications, risks to the security of this information have grown. As a result, it is now easier for third parties to access private healthcare information and use it to their benefit.
In response to these risks, the government recently enacted the “Final Omnibus Rule.” This law makes specific changes to the measures healthcare providers and employees must take to prevent data breaches involving information protected by HIPAA.
The original regulations governing secure communications in healthcare were established nearly two decades ago. Since that time, many new risks to healthcare data have appeared. This update to the regulations is meant to take these new risks into consideration and provide extra protection for patient data.
These new regulations apply to all people working within the healthcare industry. Rhe changes will affect hospitals and clinics the most. However, they may also have an effect on health insurance brokers, health insurance companies, fund managers and any employer who offers a healthcare plan covered by HIPAA.
The Final Omnibus Rule includes the following regulations:
If a breach occurs and a healthcare organization was not following these regulations at the time of the incident, the Department of Health and Human Resources may impose penalties. In addition, if the breach caused harm to patients, the healthcare organization responsible may face civil legal actions for failing to keep healthcare communications secure.
When a breach occurs, healthcare organizations are typically required by law to notify any patients whose sensitive healthcare information may have been compromised. However, under the current regulations, if the breach involved only data that cannot be read, deciphered or used, healthcare organizations are not required to reveal the breach because compromise of sensitive data is unlikely.
The Final Omnibus Rule will have the most pervasive effect on hospitals, specifically in the area of mobile device security. Many hospitals and other such healthcare organizations are already using mobile technology to communicate and/or access healthcare information on a regular basis. According to a survey published by Mobihealthnews, more than 90 percent of healthcare IT professionals report that they are either already implementing a mobile device initiative or are planning to begin such an initiative soon. When mobile devices are used to communicate sensitive healthcare information, the risk to data increases considerably. The risk is especially high when mobile devices are used to receive, send or access sensitive data over public cell phone networks or Wi-Fi networks.
Breaches may also occur when someone’s mobile device is stolen or lost. Under these new regulations, healthcare organizations will have to take more precautions to protect data accessed or transmitted over mobile devices.
One of the methods of communication health care providers use most is texting. Unfortunately, texting is vulnerable to data breaches. For this reason, all hospitals need to implement a secure texting protocol to protect their sensitive communications healthcare data. Secure texting uses an encrypted messaging platform to protect data sent between different healthcare professionals, hospitals and other involved parties. This method is much more secure than a standard text messaging platform. In addition, these platforms can be used on virtually any smartphone or tablet. The person who owns the mobile device can still use it normally to communicate with others, but all healthcare-related communications will be transmitted through this specialized platform.
As more and more healthcare organizations look to ‘bring your own device policies’ (BYOD), it is critical that doctors, nurses, and all staff members are communicating work-related information in a safe manner. QliqSOFT is at the forefront of providing secure healthcare communications in an ever-evolving twenty-first century.
QliqSOFT technology has created a secure and reliable platform for healthcare professionals to communicate quickly and seamlessly with co-workers, while simultaneously protecting sensitive patient information from outside threats.
A secure texting platform uses encrypted technology to protect data sent between different healthcare professionals, hospitals and other involved parties. Much more secure than standard text messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger, iPhone Messages, or Google Messages, the QliqSOFT platform can be used on virtually any smartphone or tablet. The person who owns the mobile device can still use it normally to communicate with others, but all healthcare-related communications will be transmitted through this specialized platform.
QliqSOFT technology goes beyond the requirements for HIPAA compliance. By offering a security approach that dramatically reduces the risk of a PHI Breach. The exclusive cloud pass-thru architecture ensures your sensitive data is never stored on QliqSOFT servers. We don’t even have the ability to decrypt the messages sent back and forth by your team
Providing a secure line of communication for healthcare employees and worker-to-patient contact is essential in today’s digital age. With QliqSOFT messaging, healthcare organizations comply with HIPAA regulations and The Final Omnibus Rule, and in turn actually make communication easier for involved parties.
Tools like built-in contact and group lists enable quick identification of the correct individuals to message. Texts, images, and files can all be sent through the platform, with message delivery confirmation. With customization options of preset messages, notification sounds and vibrations, and the ability to use a mobile or desktop version, user experience does not lag behind security.
Protect your healthcare organization, employees, and patients with a secure form of communication. As penalties and fines from the Department of Health and Human Services can result from a breach in confidential medical information, it is ever important to safeguard against any potential risks. Request a free demo or inquire more information about QliqSOFT’s secure healthcare communications today!
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