Did you know that in 2021 alone, there were over 655 reported security breaches for more than 500 records causing HIPAA concerns? The skyrocketing popularity of electronic faxing has caught the attention of the Federal government and, more specifically, HIPAA regulations.
While electronic faxing is a secure and efficient way to send electronic fax and receive documents, there are some specific requirements to meet to remain HIPAA compliant. If you are a healthcare provider, you know that HIPAA compliance is of the utmost importance.
One of the ways that you can ensure HIPAA compliance is by using a secure and comprehensive electronic faxing solution. We’re going to outline six critical factors you need to know when sending or receiving PHI via electronic fax.
Compliance with these regulations is essential for protecting the privacy of your patients and your practice.
Why Do You Need a HIPAA Compliant Faxing Option?
Overall, with a HIPAA-compliant electronic fax, the goal is to protect the privacy of your patients. Therefore, faxes containing PHI must show as encrypted and secure at all times. This is to protect yourself from potential fines and penalties.
Noncompliance with HIPAA can result in significant fines to comply with industry regulations. With the different steps that you have to take to keep patient information private and secure, it’s beneficial for physician offices to use a solution that is adaptable to different parts of their workflow.
When you utilize faxing solutions that are compliant with HIPAA regulations, this means that it meets all of the regulations set forth by the government, including security and privacy requirements.
Authentication Is Necessary
To ensure that only authorized individuals have access to PHI, some systems may require user authentication. This is before documents go through transmission or when they’re received. You can choose from a variety of methods.
Some include username/password, one-time passwords (OTP), or biometric scanning.
With Electronic Faxing, Don’t Overlook Security
In order to transmit PHI securely, the solution must use encryption technology. This will ensure that your data is protected during transmission as well as when at rest. You always want to use an option that offers 256-bit TLS encryption or higher.
This type of encryption is vital for public key infrastructure (PKI). TLS/SSL certificates generally offer the same amount of protection or encryption across the board. This is the same level of security used by banks and other financial institutions.
Think about additional features that could help with data breach prevention. To quickly identify and address any potential security breaches, it’s essential to have automatic alerts in place. The solution you choose should send alerts automatically or, even better, be backed by a team that monitors them for you.
This is whenever faxes are sent or received outside of normal business hours. This should also include when a large number of documents are being transmitted at once. Or even if there is any other suspicious activity that arises.
Think About Permissions
PHI must be stored securely during transmission and after receipt. Therefore, making sure providers and clinical staff have secure storage for all faxed documents is essential. Additionally, you want to make sure that access is always restricted to authorized personnel only.
When using an option like hFax, you can control who has access to documents. This includes specific documents and what actions they can take with those documents. You can also set expiration dates on documents. Or, you could restrict access to certain individuals or groups.
A key component of secure electronic faxing is receipt confirmation. Switching to cloud faxing is also ideal for this. Upon receipt of a document, the recipient should receive an automated message. It should confirm that the fax was successfully delivered.
This confirms that the fax was sent and verifies that the correct recipients received it.
A final critical factor is compliance reporting. Your provider should provide detailed reports on all fax activity. This should include who sent and received documents.
Along with when they’re sent or received, and the contents of each fax. This is what it means to have an audit trail. This information can help you track and monitor your HIPAA compliance status.
To ensure that your faxing solution is compliant with HIPAA regulations, hFax provides detailed reporting and tracking. This includes activity logs, document access logs, and more.
What is a BAA and Why You Need One
In addition to having all the correct security and privacy requirements, regulations set forth by the government also require a higher level of legal agreements with your electronic faxing vendor to meet all HIPAA legislation. To meet this requirement, you must have a Business Associate Agreement or BAA singed and in place.
The BAA is a separate legal contract ensuring that the vendor will safeguard the security and integrity of the Protected Health Information (PHI) contained in your faxed records. It is this document that protects your organization if a HIPAA breach is caused by the actions of, or lake thereof, your vendor.
Want To Know How hFax Differs?
Keep a few things in mind; using an hFax solution is not the same as efax or other faxing solutions. It’s more than being able to send an electronic fax online. The main difference is that hFax was built by Centralis Health off the idea of always remaining HIPAA compliant.
Instead of email, which is never 100% secure, hFax utilizes a workflow that applies and operates under HIPAA regulations. This also gives you the chance to use cloud fax to email options.
With 256-bit encryption and the ability to integrate with your existing EMR in a simple way, hFax offers secure, and easy-to-use solutions when communicating and sending documents from an internal or external position.
Make Your Operations More Secure
Centralis Health has developed HIPAA secure electronic fax services. It’s designed to make streamlining your workflow and security simple. With the platform, you get confidence that your patient information is always protected.
This is all in addition to keeping your practice compliant with HIPAA regulations. The main thing that sets the product apart is that of the audit trail feature. This allows you to track all activity within the system, including who sent and received the fax, when it was sent, what type of document was transmitted, and even how long a certain task took.
This is an essential and unique feature for HIPAA compliance and electronic faxing. It provides an extra layer of security and accountability. It also makes report generation more easily navigated. Interested in ensuring your practice is always protected?
Drop by our website to see how our method of security differs from other products.