Everyone realizes that medical transcription projects are being increasingly outsourced to low wage countries like India and the Philippines. This is mainly because these Asian countries are in a position to deliver the goods with good quality at a much lower rate than is made available within the US. But, what happens to the confidentiality of online personal / patient information? How safe is transmission over the Internet? What if someone with vested interests tries to access it? Without some assurance of the confidentiality of the data it would be futile to take the risk of outsourcing. Well HIPAA is here to take care.
So what is HIPAA? It stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996. This act regulates the exchange of all patient information using electronic methods. Patients are protected from unlawful disclosure. Thus we see that companies must be HIPAA compliant. Only then will the doctors be sure that all their valuable patient data and dictations are safe and never get into wrong hands.
What are the different requirements of HIPAA compliance for any medical transcription company? Thes include,
Maintain traceable trail of all personnel who handle specific data
- Password protection
- Encryption of data
- Compliance officers must be appointed
What is the purpose of encryption? Encryption and password protection is essential to protect patient data and one can be sure that no one will be able to access the sensitive information without an authorization. Data encryption makes sure that even if some one else happens to get access to the file he will no able to understand/ decipher whatever is written. Therefore, all digital voice recordings/dictations that are sent via the Internet for transcription must be encrypted. Thus the different requirements include,
- Encrypted e-mails
- Secure FTP (file transfer)
- Physical protection /security
- Login codes for employees
- Monitor each desktop
- Backup of tapes
- Be prepared for natural disasters
Outsource Strategies International (OSI) is a US based medical transcription company that offers affordable services in medical billing, medical coding and medical transcription services for clients across the USA.