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EHR – Practice Management Systems and HIPAA
This is the second article in my series on EHR / Cloud-Based Practice Management Systems. In this article, I discuss some of the important facets of the software that should be evaluated when considering them for use. For a more detailed discussion, as well as a five-stop process for selecting an EHR, check out the Guide to Choosing an EHR.
A primary concern for HIPAA Covered Entities when evaluating cloud based applications is whether they are HIPAA compliant. The short version is, if you file insurance claims electronically, you are likely a HIPAA Covered Entity. In addition, most state laws have their own privacy laws that require businesses to protect identifying information. At this writing, there are three core things that need to be in place for HIPAA compliance when it comes to software:
- Must meet HIPAA specifications (including the policies and practices of the software vendor)
- Vendor must sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with you
- Data must be encrypted through a method that is compliant with FIPS 140-2 standards **(in order to be excluded from the Breach Notification rules)
The first and third items are important, however to truly seal the deal, the vendor should be willing to enter into a Business Associate Contract. This contract is a legal document that clearly states how they are in compliance with HIPAA and what steps they are responsible for taking to ensure continued compliance.
In my next article, I begin to cover various features of Practice Management Systems.
Get the Complete Guide
Get fully informed and understand all of the implications of your EHR selection in the Guide to Choosing an EHR. In this book, Rob goes into detail and provides a step by step process for selecting the best fit EHR for your practice.
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Health Information Exchanges (HIE) are an initiative related to the Affordable Care Act and the HITECH Act. Their purpose is to ease the communication between the EHR/systems of various providers of health care, because the EHRs themselves are behind in doing so (i.e. interoperability).
About the Author
Rob has been covering technology and business news for mental health professionals since 2011. His extensive experience in IT, business, and private practice allow him to synthesize information in a friendly, digestible manner. He also enjoys time with his family, ultimate frisbee, and board gaming.