How to Achieve HIPAA Compliance in Customer Service

Confidentiality is a key trait clients expect from amazing customer service. This is especially true when it relates to the health and medical industries. Hospitals, clinics, and insurance providers are required by federal law to keep sensitive personal health information (PHI) secured and protected.

This law is called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If health providers don’t comply with HIPAA, they can face hefty fines of up to $1.5 million or more depending on the number and extent of the violations.  They will also likely lose the trust and business of their patients. There is simply too much at risk for medical health providers and insurance agencies to not be HIPAA compliant.

However, this law no longer just affects hospitals, clinics and insurance providers. All third party entities that obtain such information on their behalf, such as medical call centers, are also expected to comply with HIPAA’s layers of protocols.

How Can Medical Call Centers Comply with HIPAA?

Complying with HIPAA isn’t easy. This is especially true in an age where the development and use of technology seem to outpace the laws. However, the federal government won’t accept this sort of excuse if there is ever a leak in personal health information. It’s up to any medical organizations and their third party affiliates to put into place best practice approaches to ensure optimal customer protection and satisfaction.

In HIPAA, there are two primary standards that organizations receiving PHI must be aware of and comply with: the privacy rule and the security rule.

HIPAA Privacy Rule

The HIPAA privacy rule dictates standards for how PHI can be recorded, accessed, and shared. Medical call centers must provide evidence that they are putting forward initiatives and practices to ensure the confidentiality of their clients’ personal information. This information includes current and past medical conditions and treatments, demographic information of the patient, and sensitive payment information.

To be HIPAA compliant when it comes to privacy, medical call centers must train their staff appropriately in how to handle, release, and ask for personal health information. Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to company protocols on this matter.

HIPAA Security Rule

The HIPAA security rule outlines the standards for how PHI should be stored both electronically and physically.

The larger focus for security today is how to protect PHI from hacks. This means medical organizations and third party entities that handle PHI must know how to encrypt this information, use strong passwords that change on a regular cycle period, and have proper firewalls in place against cyber-attacks. It’s also important to ensure that personnel are trained to log off when they walk away from the computer and to never keep passwords to their workstations visible and accessible.

HIPAA Compliant Call Centers Can Inform Medical Institutions of Best HIPAA Practices

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being HIPAA compliant. It’s imperative that everyone stays ahead of the capabilities of cyber technology so that they will never be vulnerable to a cyber attack.

Thankfully, there are qualified third-party customer service organizations out there that understand and keep on top of changing technology. Ansafone is one top third party customer service company that has a long history of being HIPAA Compliant.

If your hospital, clinic, or health insurance agency is struggling to stay compliant with HIPAA, a professional HIPAA compliant call center may be what you need to ensure top customer service for your patients while keeping them satisfied with your service.

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