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Six Critical Digital Workplace Security Risks and How to Avoid Them

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HIPAA Compliance & Healthcare Collaboration Tools: What You Need to Know

by Aware HQ

While the day-to-day work in healthcare is fast-paced and nonstop, many organizations encounter barriers when it comes to sharing information.

Infrequent communication and interactions between medical teams results in a lapse of critical information, often affecting the delivery of quality care.

The Communication Disconnect in Healthcare

In 2005, a study showed that 77% of physicians could not even name the nurse caring for their patient. This disconnect is a problem, and both your employees and patients deserve a more personal, integrated approach to medical care.

Inefficient communication can result in disconnected employees and poor patient experience, ultimately resulting in a less-than-stellar reputation. Inefficient communication between practitioners slows the delivery of care to sick patients. Communicating between administration, specialists and aides creates a web of information that cuts productivity.

The cumulative impact of ineffective communication could cost a patient their well-being—or even their life.


Real Examples of Connected Healthcare Organizations

Collaboration technologies, such as Workplace by Meta (formerly Facebook), Yammer and Microsoft Teams, help organizations save money and time when they create a space for real-time information sharing and knowledge access.

Memorial Health System Adopts Workplace by Facebook 

Memorial Health System frequently held large staff-wide events and weekly meetings. However, when employees could not attend—for either personal or professional reasons—they found themselves falling behind and out of the loop. After adopting Workplace by Facebook, they were able to save the money and time it took to hold company-wide events and meetings.

St. Luke's University Health Network Adopts Microsoft Teams

St. Luke’s University Health Network adopted Microsoft Teams after recognizing their employees needed a way to securely share information and documents with one another. Reduced time on paperwork and information searching  allowed healthcare employees to spend more time doing what they do best: caring for their patients.


HIPAA Compliance & Enterprise Collaboration

Any responsible healthcare organization would ask about HIPAA compliance. And without addressing these concerns and achieving stakeholder alignment, your organization is at risk of compliance and legal penalties.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal regulation that secures patient confidentiality. HIPAA affirms the right that a patient has to their body and the information associated to their private health. HIPAA violations can range from $100 to $50,000 per incident.

Healthcare professionals have a responsibility to the medical needs of patients, but also to the privacy and security of their information. Inappropriate use of collaboration tools will open a healthcare provider to HIPAA risk. 

Examples of Digital Workplace HIPAA Violations

1. Sharing Private Patient Information

Patient information is sensitive and unnecessary access to personal data is considered a HIPAA violation. For example, in 2008, 13 hospital workers were fired for looking into Britney Spears health information.

2. Misusing File Content and File Types

Medical records are forbidden from being shared on unsecure networks, and this was the case in a 2016 case that had five physicians pay a six-figure settlement for posting medical procedure dates on a public cloud calendar.

3. Making Public Inquiries That Violate a Patients Privacy

Employees often use collaboration tools to ask colleagues about industry best practices or advice on specific work challenges. This is a great use of the tool, leading to increased knowledge sharing and more effective outcomes. However, without risk management measures in place, the practice can lead to a potential HIPAA violation due to frontline workers who may inadvertently share PHI when simply looking for an answer to general questions.

How to Prevent HIPAA Violations in Workplace or Yammer

It’s important that healthcare organizations pair collaboration tools with a monitoring solution to protect patient information as well as avoid hefty reputation costs.

Prevent HIPAA Privacy Rule Violations in Enterprise Collaboration

The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives patients the right to see medical records or a report of disclosures, request record correction, and submit a written statement of disagreement.

Prevent HIPAA Security Rule Violations in Enterprise Collaboration

The HIPAA Security Rule requires healthcare providers to protect their patients’ electronic protected health information (ePHI) through the implementation of physical, administrative and technical safeguards.

Prevent HIPAA Omnibus Rule Violations in Enterprise Collaboration

The HIPAA Omnibus Rule requires organizations to limit the flow of information inside and outside a private network.  

Prevent HIPAA Breach Notification Rule Violations in Enterprise Collaboration

The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires an issued notification after a breach of unsecured PHI. 

Connect Your Workforce, Protect Your Patients

As a healthcare organization, you are responsible for treating your patient’s and protecting their data.

Pair Aware with your Workplace or Yammer network to manage your risk of HIPAA violations while you embrace the future of work. Schedule a 30-minute introduction call today.

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*This article is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current law in your jurisdiction. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice.
Topics:ComplianceEnterprise Collaboration