The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for personal health information
held by covered entities and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that
information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the
disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important
The HIPAA regulations states that a healthcare provider must protect their
patients information, but doesn't provide a percise solutions. The
regulation requires physicians/doctors
to look at the ways they use and access data to determine whether
thatís reasonable or not.
Compliance is not optional. Those found in violation of the act will
To help you begin your HIPAA compliance process, the following are some practical ideas
for rethinking how you maintain and use patient information in your office.
An important part of HIPAA is the minimum use standard, which mandates that healthcare
providers use and disclose patient information in ways that are minimally necessary
to accomplish the task.
Certain people need to see certan sections of a persons file. Therefore, you
may want to divide patient files into sections, having an office policy that clearly
states who may access each section.
Consider converting to pocket-style folders, where classified information could
be stored. General information could be attached to the folder using the built-in
fasteners. One possible solution is the AAK folder 2640 line of folders. Click
here for more information.
Take a look at the outside of your file folders. Do they process identifiable patient
information, such as the patientís name, address, social security number, birth
date, phone number, or specific information about a health condition? If so, you
may need to re-label your files. Consider converting to a color-coded system that
allows you to file alphabetically or numerically.
Shelving - Locking Cabinet/Shelving Solutions
When possible, files that are not in use should be locked. Locking the room where
files are stored is a good start, but remember that cleaning, building, and other
staff may enter your office while you are not there. Another option would be to
have a locking mechanism on your filing cabinet, where your staff can lock them up at the end of the day or when they are not
You may want to take this opportunity to re-think how you file and purchase new
filing cabinets with locks. You may now choose from vertical, lateral, and open-shelf
We have a couple of different lines.
If a new filing system is not in the budget and your current cabinets do not have
locks, itís possible that they can be retrofitted with locks. For example, you can
purchase a lock accessory for several open filing cabinets and easily install locks/doors
for all sorts of models.
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