The protection of healthcare information is the responsibility of any company or service that uses patient healthcare information (PHI or ePHI). Law firms & attorneys who are entrusted with confidential health information regularly should place additional emphasis on data privacy and security.
Medical Records hold the most sensitive health-related and personal information of an individual. The improper sharing of medical records or a breach that results in the release of records can cause substantial harm to both the patient and the provider. Even the slightest negligence by a law firm in securing the information may harm the patient or provider, result in state and federal penalties, and loss of reputation and trust.
A law firm or attorney handling medical records-related cases like Personal Injury, Mass Torts, or Medical Malpractice must choose a Medical Record Retrieval service provider who complies with the requirements of HIPAA, the HITECH Act, and other federal and states laws and regulations governing:
- Retrieval of medical records from healthcare providers.
- Security through the storage, access, and usage for processes such as the development of different types of summaries.
- Destruction of these medical records after usage.
Common causes of Data Privacy Violations
- Lack of control on the access to ePHI & PHI records provided to employees of the law firm.
- Insufficient or improper training of employees on HIPAA, HITECH, and states rules and regulations.
- Not providing privacy breach notifications as required to HHS and other authorized entities.
- Disclosing protected health information without determining the necessity of disclosure.
- Absence or unavailability of proper encryption & decryption policies to protect ePHI on portable devices.
How to ensure Data Privacy?
- Law firms should ensure that remote servers containing data are encrypted and monitored by a team of data security experts.
- Provide end-user training and account management privileges to the staff that usually handles protected health information to ensure that no phishing attacks are accidentally allowed into the internal server.
- Use encrypted services to share ePHI via email rather than using services such as Gmail or outlook.
- Law-firms or attorneys should ensure that their paper records are maintained in a lock and key facility.
- A cybersecurity risk analysis and protection map should be put in place to face any threats, vulnerabilities, and impact that might result from possible cyber-attacks.
- Maintain a strong security policy on all information systems including e-mail, voicemail, text messages, the Internet, computers, workstations, laptops, cell phones, software, passwords, remote access, and cloud computing.
Consequences of Data Breach and How Outsourcing Can Help?
The consequences of a data breaches while retrieving and assembling medical records are serious as a breach could cause substantial harm to the client and may lead to fines or penalties imposed against the law firm. Therefore, law firms and attorneys need to choose medical records retrieval professionals who comply with all regulations and rules, understand the latest industry best practices, offer full transparency, and have a highly comprehensive crisis management protocol. The medical records retrieval service provider must be well equipped to handle the data and securing it at the same time to avoid any data breach.
AcroDocz is fully compliant with the requirements of HIPAA and the HITECH act. We ensure that the medical records and information collected remain safe and confidential by using established procedures. We employ a team with expertise in retrieving, assembling, reviewing, and summarizing medical records and bills. Our team works within a secure facility and adheres to the highest level of security and confidentiality to safeguard your client’s records.