What would you do if someone sued your medical practice due to a HIPAA violation? Would you be able to handle the financial burden or the damage to your office’s reputation? While you may think you’re taking the necessary actions needed to protect your patients’ information, there might be a few unthought of ways you’re violating HIPAA.
Ways You Could Be Violating HIPAA
- Mishandling Medical Records: Often, doctors, nurses, or the like leave medical charts in an exam room that other patients can see, which can then lead to a mishandling of medical records. Make sure to always keep printed patient information locked away.
- Employees Disclosing Patient Information: Sometimes employees will gossip about a patient with coworkers, friends, or family, putting your practice at risk of violating HIPAA. Make sure your employees know to not discuss patient information in public, or even at all outside your office.
- Lost or Stolen Devices: You can face major HIPAA fines if patient information is leaked through stolen computers, laptops, and smartphones. To protect yourself and your patients, ensure all technology is safeguarded with passwords, firewalls, and encrypted codes.
- Employees Illegally Accessing Files: A common HIPAA violation is employees accessing patient information when they are not authorized to do so. Whatever the reason, this is highly illegal and can result in major fines for your practices.
- Lack of Authorization: In order to share patient information with third parties, you need written consent from that person. Unless the information is used for treatment, payment, or health care options, make sure you or your employees always getting proper authorization before releasing a patient’s medical information.
- Improper Disposal of Documents: If patients leave your office, either give them all the documentation you have on them or securely shred their medical records. Holding onto unnecessary documentation runs the risk of that information falling into the wrong hands and a lawsuit falling into yours.
At Complete Shredding Solutions, we are AAA-certified and a member of the National Association for Information Destruction, meaning we are experts at information elimination and keeping you compliant with all state and federal laws. For more information or to schedule a service, please call us at 516-442-1624.