Apr 14, 2016

Health Information Security and Privacy

The second-grade class stands in line at the chalkboard fidgeting, pushing and giggling. The school nurse puts on latex gloves, picks up an extra-large magnifying glass and starts examining each scalp for head lice. Going down the line, one by one, she begins to take extra time with one of the children. She looks closer into the magnifying glass, starts picking at something and tells him to come see her in her office when she’s done with everyone else. And then everyone knows. Surely, there was a better, more private way to do this!

Embarrassment is one of many concerns people have when it comes to outsiders knowing things about our health. While embarrassment is a very real and raw feeling, weightier matters over privacy concerns such as discrimination, safety and identity come into play should our records fall into the wrong hands, intentionally or by accident. Gains in technology have done a commendable job cutting costs and increasing efficiency, but it has also spiked levels of concern over consumer privacy within the healthcare industry.

Here Comes the Law

The good news is our worries continue to be been heard and addressed. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) introduced national standards for health information security and privacy. The HIPAA Privacy Rule pertains to saving, accessing and sharing an individual’s medical and personal information. The HIPAA Security Rule provides guidance on national security standards intended to protect health data of an electronic nature, referred to as electronic protected health information (ePHI).

Security and notification issues are being managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) who have implemented an office called the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to ensure compliance. Tasked with enforcing the laws as outlined in HITECH, HHS OCR established a pilot audit program in 2011 to assess processes and rules covered entities (CE) and business associates (BA) have put into place. CE are those who provide treatment, payment and operations in healthcare, and BA are defined as those with access to patient information and provide support in treatment, payment or operations. Subcontractors, or business associates of business associates, must also be in compliance. The pilot audit program has created a set of instructions used to measure 115 covered entities. To take things further, OCR also launched a formal evaluation of the pilot audit program’s productiveness.

A Secure Solution

Wellness professionals seeking technology solutions to reduce costs and provide a satisfactory experience for customers to connect with them are ready to meet demand. An investment in cloud-based communications carries them away from the archaic, money-losing call center standards of several decades ago and replaces it with a blend of customer relationship management (CRM) software. Our Atmosphere Call Routing and allocation platform for Customer Engagement Centers is a reliable way to meet and exceed customer expectations. A valid concern is how vulnerable the technologies make health information security. IntelePeer is uniquely qualified to be a leader in the healthcare vertical giving Customer Engagement Centers a solution to help their business proactively respond to growth and change. As a provider of on-demand, cloud-based communications services, our solutions guarantee a secure experience due to our industry-leading encryption certification.

Click here to learn more about how IntelePeer’s cloud-based call center solution, Atmosphere, can help your health organization.

Download the Whitepaper, “Why Healthcare is Moving to the Cloud”.

Nils Waack

Nils Waack

Nils is our Corporate Marketing Manager and has been with the company for three years. Nils has a BS in Marketing from Arizona State University and grew up in Rochester, NY. Go Bills! When Nils isn’t working, he is usually traveling, snowboarding, at the farmers market, or doing something outside!