Although many dental practices have taken some measures to become HIPAA compliant, such as having written policies and procedures, many have yet to address the protection and security of protected health information through digital communications.
HIPAA refers to any data that is sent digitally as “data in motion.” Think about how many emails, files, and instant messages are sent and received at your office on a daily basis. Are they being transmitted and stored using a secure system?
The problem with most email systems is that they aren’t secure, meaning they lack encryption technology recommended for HIPAA compliance. Emails sent throughout a typical workday in the dental industry often contain sensitive patient health information. If your email system isn’t secure, you are vulnerable to a costly HIPAA violation, or worse, cyber-security threats.
While there are vendors who can provide email encryption that range in cost and methods for dominant email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and Gmail, information in your email is still potentially open to attack if the receiver doesn’t have a secure system in place.
A closed-loop, secure email system allows dentists to communicate with patients and other dental practices without worry.
In addition to sending secure email, are the files you share with partners, specialists, and labs stored and tracked in a secure portal?
Cloud-based secure storage allows for more efficient case collaboration in full HIPAA compliance. Not only are you able to share sensitive information with confidence, your workflow and communication becomes more efficient in the process.
Do you use mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones to send quick messages between staff members? It’s a quick and easy way to communicate, right?
Those messages, however, may contain patient information and should be treated with the same level of security as other forms of digital communication. Ensure a strong handoff with individuals, groups, and divisions in and out of the office using a secure messaging.
And if you’re not using an intra-office communication system, you may be hurting your chances for improved patient experience and higher case acceptance rates.
Have a Plan
The number one thing any dental practice can do to become completely HIPAA compliant is to have a plan. Security doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. The top dental communication platforms help practices instill best practices to become more secure and more profitable while increasing patient experience.
Need help formulating your plan to stay HIPAA compliant? Get your security checklist now!