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

by Aware

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

One study showed that 77% of physicians could not even name the nurse caring for their patient. This disconnect is a problem,  as miscommunication is the root cause of 91% of medical errors reported by resident doctors. Both your employees and your patients deserve a more personal, integrated approach to medical care.

Inefficient communication leads to disconnected employees and poor patient experience, ultimately resulting in a less-than-stellar reputation. Across all areas of the healthcare industry, getting communication right is vital to employee experience and patient outcomes. Inefficient communication between practitioners, administrations, specialists and aides slows the delivery of care to sick patients and creates a tangled 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 from Meta (formerly Facebook), Slack 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 from Meta 

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 from Meta, they were able to communicate more effectively with all employees and 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 spent on paperwork and information searching allowed healthcare employees concentrate on what they do best: caring for their patients.

HIPAA Compliance & Enterprise Collaboration

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.

It’s essential for modern healthcare organizations to identify tools that accelerate communication between employees while maintaining HIPAA compliance. 

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 or Protected Health Information

Patient information is sensitive and unnecessary access to personal data is considered a HIPAA violation. But when it comes to celebrity healthcare, HIPAA violations aren’t hard to find. Public figures including Britney Spears, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kim Kardashian have all had their medical records accessed in breach of HIPAA.

In 2008, healthcare workers leaked Maria Shriver’s medical records to the press, which led her ex-husband and then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign two bills increasing the fines for HIPAA violations in California. 

2. Misusing File Content and File Types

Healthcare organizations must also take steps to protect sensitive patient information by safeguarding how they transmit and where they store files. In 2016, five physicians paid a six-figure settlement for posting medical procedure dates on a public cloud calendar.

3. Making Public Inquiries That Violate Patient 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 appropriate risk management measures in place, it can lead to HIPAA violations due to frontline workers  inadvertently sharing PHI when simply looking for answers to general questions.

How to Prevent HIPAA Violations in Workplace, Teams or Slack

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

Prevent HIPAA Privacy Rule Violations in Enterprise Collaboration

The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes a set of national standards for the protection of health information and gives patients the right to see and control their medical records, 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 healthcare providers to issue a 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, Teams or Slack network to manage your risk of HIPAA violations while you embrace the future of work.

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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:Compliance AdherenceEnterprise Collaboration