Its October 1st which means the September 23rd deadline for revising your policies to comply with HIPAA expectations has passed by. Did you make it?
Yes? Great! Amazing! Seriously impressive.
Not yet? You’re not alone! The new standards are proving to be a bit tricky, and have been all the talk among clinicians I work with and am in collaboration with. Encrypted e-mail has been most difficult to both understand and implement.
Here is an excellent resource for helping you decide what works best in your practice:
Any information you transmit electronically that contains specific information about your patient’s demographics such as name, social security number, date of birth, diagnosis, etc is considered protected. Its our responsibility as Thriving Clinicians to be mindful to take care to lock our cabinets as well as to do so for electronic records.
Feeling overwhelmed? Take it one step at a time! Yes, its the law and we need to comply but no one expects that you’ll achieve all this in one swoop right after you read this; as long as you’re taking the steps and getting your files protected you’re well on your way.
Easy first step? Make sure all your physical folders are in a locked location.
Easy second step? Make sure all your electronic files are password protected.
None of this is should be taken lightly but if you’re taking the necessary steps you’ll find its not that hard for a Thriving Clinician to stay on the correct side of the HIPAA laws.
Other tips if you’re stuck ~ Hire a computer geek to do this for you. Business computer experts know how to do this quickly and easily.
If you have your own website and e-mail you might find that your webmail is already encrypted.
Breathe. This is an important issue but if you’re working at it you’ll get it done.