Healthcare organizations, outpatient facilities, solo practitioners and hospitals today are recognizing the value of ensuring privacy and integrating technology into their core operations to deliver enhanced patient care. And when such is the modern-day healthcare scenario then why not put your bets on the latest innovation of automation. Most forward-thinking physicians/doctors are currently using the services of organized medical billing and coding agencies that use HIPAA automation tools to achieve their financial goals.
Why HIPAA Automation Tools?
Highly innovative and educated medical billing software’s being used today, streamline workflows with highly secure automated processes that protect patient data, such as secure FTP file transfer functions that use passwords, keys, certificates, SSL/TLS Explicit/Implicit solutions as well as file encryption and decryption protocols with open PGP, PGP certificates, passphrases and keys.
So, the moot question that arises here is what are the next steps, beyond meeting privacy thresholds established by HIPAA?
- Should the features or standards be reshaped to better control and monitor the actions of complaint organizations?
- If HIPAA compliance is just a checkbox item to be crossed off before an IT product release, does it limit or overthrow the purpose of compliance?
- And remembering the spirit of the HITECH Act isn’t it important to strive for better outcomes?
- Most importantly it facilitates physicians/doctors operating out of multi-location and department
Heeding the HIPAA Compliance
Medical billing software automation has become a central part of enforcing HIPAA compliance and other regulations, and most of the tech-savvy healthcare organizations have already automated core business processes involving private health information of the patients, including validation of insurance information, patient scheduling and notifications, medical billing and coding management. As a result, the healthcare industry had to integrate automated processes with legacy systems.
Over the 15 years, healthcare units across the United States have increasingly used technology solutions to optimize workloads, share critical health data and deliver healthier patient care. The federal government encouraged the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) by healthcare service providers through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs five years back that provides direct financial incentives to healthcare providers who demonstrate ‘meaningful use’ of certified EHR technology. Ultimately, the end goal is to improve patient care and sustain a financially viable bottom line in tandem with the HIPAA compliances.
Focus On Information and Security through Automated Tools
Healthcare service providers and the associated companies that work with them, such as an offshore medical billing and coding organization have to be mindful of protecting patient privacy. If you still haven’t forgotten, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that was passed during the Clinton Administration governs privacy protections by requiring that anyone who possesses health-related information to protect it.
Specifically, the health data custodians must keep private any critical information related to the health information they possess, including names, phone numbers, email addresses, medical records numbers, driver license information, etc.
Do remember that with the increase in patient payments, payment modes, the payment cards and bank accounts of patients are exposed, which in turn increases the risk of a data breach. A payment card data breach can lead to a high financial and reputational loss for the hospital or physician that can result in loss of business and bad publicity.
In a sensitive industry like healthcare, where the privacy of patients is compromised, it can affect a large number of people. Adherence to rules and regulations laid down by the HIPAA is vital for enhanced security of patient’s information as fraudulent activity can be effectively prevented by HIPAA before, during and after the claims are processed.
In the healthcare domain, HIPAA establishes clear guidelines between parties with regard to electronic transactions and electronic record keeping. For improved security, it mandates people who carry out the medical billing undertaking, to make use of EHR systems.