A medical phone answering service is a helpful tool for healthcare clinics and facilities. They can provide customer assistance and get in touch with providers who are on call. However, they need to follow certain specific rules. Answering services need to follow the rules of HIPAA, or the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, or a set of laws that are designed to protect patient privacy and safeguard patient medical records from being leaked or shared outside of professional necessity.
Here are the things that every medical telephone answering service should avoid if they hope to stay HIPAA-compliant.
Texting Private Health Info to Alpha Pager
Some answering services can use an alpha pager service to contact healthcare providers and their staff. However, these pages must not include an private health information, including patient demographics, a patient's condition, or any other specifics. Pager messages aren't secure or private.
Sending Unencrypted Texts
Text messages need to be sent using safe encryption, which prevents messages from being intercepted and private patient information from being delivered to the wrong hands. Encryption protects the patient and protects healthcare offices and facilities like yours from being subject to lawsuits due to leaked patient information.
Sending Unencrypted Emails
Emails are also easy to intercept, which is why they need to be encrypted to protect patients from having their private health info leaked or read by the wrong recipient. This is especially important if there are attachments that include patient medical records.
So what's the best way to protect your medical office or facility? Only rely on a phone answering service that's professional, trained and experienced working for medical clients, and is dedicated to HIPAA compliance. For more information, contact a phone answering service like CallNET. These services can provide you with helpful information so you know you're only working with the most prepared and private call answering service. Your patients deserve the best, and you deserve to be protected.