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First Do No Harm: Protect Your Patients’ Info with HIPAA Compliant Medical Answering Services

Phone Answering, Professional Answering Service

March 26, 2019

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law in 1996 to ensure that sensitive Patient Health Information (PHI) – such as names,  identification numbers, billing information, and medical histories – would not be breached or compromised.

According to the guidelines set forth by HIPAA, every entity or business associate with access to PHI must comply with the same privacy and security rules as the medical providers who hire them.

In short, medical practices are ultimately held responsible for the actions of the call centers they hire to schedule their appointments and manage their calls.

HIPAA compliant medical answering services protect your practice – and your patients – in the following ways:

  • Secured emails – Whether sent to off-site staff members or within the medical office, itself – emails are subject to a variety of threats and potential hacks. HIPAA compliant medical answering services will ensure your messages are encrypted and password protected, preventing them from being monitored and/or intercepted while in transit.
  • Secured text messages – Like emails, PHI should never be transmitted via standard, unsecured texts. Texts and SMS messages containing patient data must also be password protected and encrypted. For added security, expiration dates can be set for messages, making certain that they cannot be accessed beyond a certain period of time.
  • A secure web portal – An answering service should provide a secure web portal through which medical providers and their staff can retrieve data and documents containing PHI when they need them. Portals also allow medical professionals to view reports, manage on-call schedules, update contacts, and much more.

Non-compliance can be costly. Fines, penalties, and even criminal charges can be levied against medical practices and their Business Associates that do not adhere to HIPAA requirements.

But compliance can be tricky. Many medical practices have multiple divisions, with different doctors on call for each. High call volumes, time-sensitive reports, and myriad other responsibilities can make compliance a moving target.

Your medical practice’s reputation is on the line. Don’t take chances when enlisting a call center.

Focus Telecommunications led the HIPAA training for the Association of Telemessaging Services International (ATSI). Our HIPAA compliant medical answering service allows customers to review messages on our secure IntelliSite, change their on-calls quickly and easily from a smartphone or computer, and access and print required documents wherever and whenever they are needed.

Not all Focus clients NEED HIPAA compliance; however, those HIPAA best practices maintain privacy for all our customers.

Our friendly and knowledgeable agents regularly help business and medical clients maintain accreditation, page out calls, and submit reports in a timely and efficient manner, and we can do the same for you.

Give us a call today at 800-886-6696 and ask about our free week trial or request a quote online.