You want to provide the best assistance to your patients in care but you also don't want to run the risk of sharing sensitive data.
If you or one of your employees has ever communicated to a patient via text message, email or voicemail, on a personal device, then you may have jeopardized your patient's privacy.
Staying HIPPA compliant on your personal phone is so much easier by adding a second line. With HIPAA phone lines connecting to patients just became easier!
What Are HIPAA Compliant Calls?
Luckily there are rules to protect individuals from telemarketing. This came about with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991. The act restricts telemarketing phone calls, pre-recorded messages, and the use of automatic phone dialing systems.
While it protects consumer privacy the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) later offered exemptions from TCPA standards for healthcare providers. That's because you may need to leave messages or send texts to patients.
Without the FCC these HIPAA compliant phone calls from covered entities (CEs) and business associates (BAs) are not allowed.
What Types of Calls Are Compliant?
Health care providers can make HIPPA Compliant Phone Calls. The FCC states that the patient gives consent to phone calls when they give their phone number to the healthcare provider.
There are still restrictions on the types of calls you can make. The following phone calls and texts are HIPAA compliant:
- Appointments and reminders
- Health checkups
- Patient's lab test results
- Pre-operative instructions
- Post-discharge follow up
- Providing medical treatment
- At home instructions
- Hospital pre-registration instructions
In addition, new notifications about remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency have also been established to ensure discretion while using audio or video communication technology.
HIPPA Compliant Call Requirements
In order for the phone call to be HIPAA compliant it must not only fall under one of the categories above but also include the following. The covered entities must state their name and contact information first. Then, you must state the purpose of the call.
The FCC recommends that phone calls last up to 60 seconds and text messages should not exceed 160 characters. The healthcare provider should only call patients up to three times a week or less. And only one text message per day.
You may not contact patients for advertising, telemarketing, or solicitation purposes. You must also follow the HIPAA Minimum Necessary Rule, which requires healthcare providers to only give information that directly relates tot he reason for their call.
Why Do You Need A Second Line?
With so many requirements set out to protect the patient and their personal information, having a separate HIPAA phone line is a must. The majority of medical professionals are using a personal mobile device to access patient data. This could be a smartphone, tablet, etc.
When accessing sensitive patient information, sending, and receiving messages containing this data, you run a high risk of security breaches. When working with electronic protected health information (ePHI) on your personal devices, there are many errors that can take place.
For example, you could send a message to the wrong person. Your messages could be stolen via a Wi-Fi hotspot or the device itself could get lost or stolen. There are many ways that there could be an information breach when not properly encrypting the messages.
What Does a HIPAA Compliant Phone Number Service Do?
While you want to ensure your patient's protection and compliance for your business. You also don't want to give up the convenience that being in contact with your patients provides.
That's why getting a HIPAA compliant phone line and service is a great solution. You can use this app on your mobile phone so you can take it with you wherever you go.
Using a HIPAA compliant phone number service can resolve your fears surrounding the protection of your patient's information. This includes HIPAA compliant calling, text messaging, and secure voicemail.
You can provide secure texting with your patients using a secure app. Plus, you can set up multiple sub-accounts for your associates so that you each have a second line to use specifically for HIPAA Compliance communication.
Some options also include a HIPAA compliant fax line so you can send and receive sensitive documents with confidence. Plus, you can port an existing landline or mobile number and make it HIPAA compliant if you need to.
How Does a HIPAA Compliant App Work?
These secure mobile applications provide an encryption policy to keep the data secure within them. The administrator can lock the accounts. So if a phone or device is lost or stolen, the information is protected.
You would use the mobile application to send secure messages. The patient also uses the application to send secure texts to their doctor for free. It doesn't matter what network you use, the information sent within the application remains protected.
Create and Share Your Plan
To make your phone calls, voicemails, and texts HIPAA compliant you must stress the importance of using protected devices. Come up with a plan that everyone is familiar with and knows how to follow. This includes recorded consultations, clinical documentation, and storage.
Provide training on detecting malicious data breaches and cyberattacks. They should also use unique login credentials and not share these with others. Change passwords on a weekly basis to ensure protection.
They should also know never to use a personal email account or personal phone line to interact with a patient. You should also limit the amount of access given to sensitive information to avoid more chances of a security breach.
Ready For Your Own HIPAA Phone Line?
With today's growing data and technology there's never been a more important time to ensure you're mobile phones are protected and HIPAA Compliant. A HIPAA phone line and HIPAA Compliant app can make contacting your patients a breeze.
If you're interested in learning how you can securely communicate with your patients while being HIPAA Compliant, then contact us today.