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HIPAA - Medical

HIPAA defines companies that provide service to Healthcare Providers as Business Associates. Though the guidelines and regulations of HIPAA are not directly enforced upon Business Associates, but rather on the Healthcare Providers, at TranscriptionStar, we are meticulously working on complying with very detail of the Security and Privacy regulations of HIPAA. Besides, we are active participants and followers of guidelines by HL7 EHR Security and Privacy Issues and JCAHO

We help the Providers in fulfilling the PHI Privacy and Security requirements. We always enter into a written agreement with each physician or physician group that we will honor the privacy guidelines established by HIPAA and maintain technical and personnel safeguards to maintain the security of that data.

Security Guidelines of Administrative Simplification:

Administrative Procedures:

  • Documented formal practices to manage the selection and execution of security measures to protect data and the conduct of personnel in relation to the protection of data.
  • Contingency - Data Backup, Disaster Recovery, Emergency Mode
  • Information Access Control - Access Authorization, Access Establishment, Access Modification
  • Personnel Security - Personnel clearance including custodial services
  • Security Configuration Mgmt - Hardware/software installation and maintenance
  • Virus checking
  • Security Incident Procedures - Report/Response Procedures
  • Security Mgmt. Process - Risk analysis and Management
  • Sanction and Security policy
  • Termination Procedures - locks changed, removal from access lists and user account(s)
  • Training - User ed. Concerning virus protection and password management
  • Physical Safeguards
  • The protection of physical computer systems and related buildings an equipment form fire and other natural and environmental hazards, as well as from intrusion. Physical safeguards also cover the use of locks, keys, and administrative measures used to control access to computer systems and facilities.
  • Media Controls - Access control, Accountability, Data Backup and Storage, Disposal
  • Physical Access Controls - Disaster Recovery, Emergency Mode Operation, Equipment Control
  • (limited access) Need-to-Know Procedures for personnel access
  • Policy and guidelines on workstation use
  • Secure workstation locations
  • Security Awareness Training (including business associates like transcription companies)

Technical Security Services:

  • Include the processes that are put into place to protect and to control and monitor information access.
  • Access Control - Applies primarily to EMR and includes: Context-based, Role-based, and User-Based
  • Access, Encryption, and Emergency access procedures
  • Audit Controls
  • Authorization Control - Role-based and User-Based access
  • Data Authentication
  • Entity Authentication - Requisite: Auto Logoff and Unique User ID, plus at least one of the following:
  • Password, PIN, Tele-callback, Token, Biometric signature

Technical Security Mechanisms:

  • Include the processes that are put into place to prevent unauthorized access to data that is transmitted over a communications network.
  • Communications/Network controls - Requisite: Integrity Controls and Message Authentication plus one of the following:
  • Access Control, Encryption
  • If using a network, add:
  • Alarm, Audit Trail, Entity Authentication, Event Reporting
  • These are excerpts from Federal Register documentation on Administrative Simplification regarding Security. For comprehensive text, download documentation from the web by clicking here.

Privacy Guidelines of Administrative Simplification*:

a) The Privacy Rule provides the first comprehensive Federal protection for the privacy of health information and is carefully balanced to provide strong privacy protections that do not interfere with patient access to, or the quality of, healthcare delivery.

b) By the compliance date of April 14, 2003 covered entities (Health Plans, Healthcare Clearinghouses, and Healthcare Providers) must implement standards to protect and guard against the misuse of individually identifiable health information. Failure to timely implement these standards may, under certain circumstances, trigger the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

Incidental Uses and Disclosures (45CFR 164.502(a)):

a) An incidental use of disclosure is a secondary use of disclosure that cannot be reasonably be prevented, is limited in nature, and that occurs as a result of another use or disclosure that is permitted by the Rule. An incidental use or disclosure is NOT permitted if it is a by-product of an underlying use or disclosure which violates the Privacy Rule.

Minimum Necessary (45CFR 164.502(b), 164.514(d)):

a) The essence of this rule is the conveyance of patient information, in whatever form that conveyance may take (documented, verbal, data transfer, etc.) with the minimum amount of data necessary to meet the current treatment needs of the patient. The Privacy Rule requires covered entities to take reasonable steps to limit the use or disclosure of protected health information to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose.

Personal Representatives (45CFR 164.502(g)):

a) Under the Privacy Rule, a person authorized to act on behalf of the individual in making health care related decisions is the individual's personal representative. Covered entities are required to treat an individual's personal representative as the individual with respect to uses and disclosures of the individual's protected health information. The personal representative has the ability to act for the individual, exercise the individual's rights, and may also authorize disclosures of the individual's protected health information.

Business Associates (45CFR 164.502(e), 164.504(e), 164.532(d) and (e)):

a) By law, the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies only to covered entities. However, most healthcare providers do not carry out all of their activities and functions by themselves. Often the use of services provided by a variety of other persons and businesses are required. The Privacy Rule allows covered providers to disclose protected health information to these "business associates" if the providers obtain satisfactory assurances that the business associate will use the information only for the purposes for which it was engaged by the covered entity, will safeguard the information from misuse, will help the covered entity comply with some of the covered entity's duties under the Privacy Rule, and help the covered entity carry out its healthcare functions

b) A member of the covered entity's workforce is NOT a business associate.

c) An independent medical transcriptionist that provides transcription services to a physician IS a business associate.

d) A software vendor only becomes a "Business Associate" when it is required that a company representative view patient data in relation to providing services in the installation or maintenance of computer software. If the viewing of patient data can be avoided in this regard, a software vendor is not considered a business associate.

e) *These are excerpts from Privacy Rule guidelines created by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights. For comprehensive text, visit the Office of Civil Rights on the web.


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