Medical practices are becoming increasingly susceptible to cyber attacks. It has been estimated that healthcare cyber attacks witness a surge of 55%. Which has impacted over 26 million in the United States. Therefore, the privacy and security of medical records and patients records have become more crucial than anything else.
So, in order to ensure the protection of highly confidential information, healthcare providers should use end-to-end encrypted communication methods.
While other industries have adopted the latest and up-to-date methods to exchange information. But the healthcare sector is still heavily relying on faxing. However, even with faxing, some medical practitioners have started using the newer method: cloud faxing. It’s reliable and something medical offices are comfortable with while using.
What Is Cloud Faxing?
Most commonly known as internet faxing, online faxing and email-based faxing, cloud faxing is an option for transmitting data digitally. So, you don’t need to deal with the paperwork and orthodox physical fax machines.
Moreover, cloud faxing can benefit you in the following ways:
- Fax document security is increased through high-level encryption and access controls.
- There is no need for resource expenditure on toner, ink and maintenance.
- The process of sending and receiving fax is made much quicker and more efficient.
- Fax documents can be sent while working remotely.
- You can maintain important functionality associated with fax transmissions, such as: legal document sharing and instant submission/reception of visual files.
- Fax can be saved and easily accessed through online document management systems.
- Multiple fax numbers can be assigned to a single account, simplifying transmission.
Maintain HIPAA Compliance
Maintaining HIPAA compliance and security mandates are crucial to protect healthcare information from misuse and theft.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides complete guidelines to healthcare administrators about patients’ healthcare data protection.
It’s imperative for medical practitioners to choose HIPAA-compliant cloud faxing. If you’re not already familiar with HIPAA, let’s take a look at the high-level basics as it relates to faxing.
- HIPAA allows doctors and hospitals to fax a patient’s medical information.
- It requires doctors to use secure cloud-based faxing services while transmitting a document.
- HIPAA Privacy Rules do not prohibit a “covered entity” from faxing protected health information to doctors.
As HIPAA compliant cloud-based faxing solutions can streamline your workflow. There are several reasons why sending compliant faxes is crucial. By protecting your patients’ information, you can keep yourself away from legal troubles i.e. heavy fines.
It’s pertinent to mention here that a single HIPAA violation can result in penalties ranging from $100 to $50,000.
If you ignore the security guidelines of HIPAA and don’t pay attention to fix security issues. Then you can also face criminal charges. Which can result in a healthcare business having to shut its doors permanently.
How to Meet HIPAA Compliance Requirements?
HIPAA compliance is required for both sending and receiving faxes. However, you can take the following steps to ensure compliance.
- You should use fax services that deliver the right level of security and encryption.
- Before choosing a cloud fax service, make sure that it offers encryption for sent faxes as well.
- You must verify the fax number of the recipient. Because sending a document to the wrong number is considered as a violation of the HIPAA act.
- Using a cover sheet along with your fax document can help to hide the confidential information in the fax itself.
- Make sure that the fax you are going to send, will be handled and stored correctly. Ask a few questions to the recipient i.e. Are the receivers using cloud-based faxing to receive and store documents? Do they have strict policies in place to handle sensitive healthcare information?
- Verifying such aspects before sending a fax to ensure the security of both ends can prevent serious consequences.
- It’s also your responsibility to handle the received files in a secured manner that’s compliant with HIPAA.
- The best thing to stay compliant with HIPAA guidelines is setting permissions for users within your business. You should allow access to the specific individuals, who are responsible to handle the incoming and sending documents.
There are a lot of companies in the market that provide a cloud-based faxing solution to meet your needs. But you should only get the services of companies that offer HIPAA compliant cloud faxing.
Because choosing the right service provider is the first step towards ensuring data security within your business. Keep in mind that, not all Internet fax services meet the requirements for HIPAA compliance. You should prepare a list of cloud-based faxing companies. That specifically offers end-to-end encrypted services.
Medical Billing Benefits provides the most up-to-date information on all aspects of health, medicine, and well-being. Stay tuned to learn more about the latest evolutions in medical billing, coding, and state laws regarding the medical industry.