HIPAA Compliance When Scanning Patient Charts
Moving from paper to digital necessitates an initial scanning process to digitize your archived paper files. It is also necessary to scan any new paper files that enter your system. Just as you have been maintaining HIPAA compliant with your paper data, you must now do likewise digitally, beginning with the scanning procedure.
The Difficulties of Do-It-Yourself Scanning
You may be tempted to enlist internal workers to scan your charts, but there are numerous hurdles to DIY scanning, since you must follow the following guidelines:
- Educate and train employees on a regular basis.
Understanding HIPAA regulations is critical for all of your employees in order to properly scan and manage your patients’ records. They should be knowledgeable with definitions, standards for maintaining compliance, and be at ease with putting in place the necessary administrative protections. They should be conversant with all privacy rules that affect HIPAA and stay up to date on state and federal rule revisions. Medical records must be scanned and stored in such a way that confidentiality is maintained at all stages of the process.
- Set up a backup system.
Whether you keep paper, digital materials, or a combination of both, it is critical to have remote and independent backup copies. If your original is destroyed, lost, breached, or stolen as a result of a ransomware assault, you must be able to restore it swiftly so that you may continue to operate while also solving the problem. PHI must also be retrievable in its entirety.
- Protect digital files by encrypting them.
Protected Health Information (PHI) records must be encrypted for security reasons, according to HIPAA. HIPAA covers every electronic PHI (ePHI) file, including scanned pictures, faxes, x-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Each of these categories of records should be encrypted both before they are transported outside of your company and while they are stored in your internal systems or on external storage devices.
- Think about what should be scanned and what should be saved.
If you aren’t ready to scan everything but need to free up the valuable square footage that patient charts take up, where can you keep them safe and secure until they can be scanned?
Knowing all of the difficulties, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have employees who have been trained to scan and index each file correctly?
- Will the scanning be done at the appropriate quality, file size, and format to ensure that it is readable but not too huge to store?
- Who will double-check the files to ensure that no documents have been overlooked?
- Can you afford to assign employees to work on a task that is not their primary responsibility for an indefinite period of time?
- Can you afford the necessary equipment, software, updates, and repair services to keep a HIPAA-compliant scanning system running?
You probably don’t have the resources needed to scan your patient data swiftly and securely because you are preoccupied with your health care institution, your staff, and your patients. Professional file scanning professionals, like you and your staff, have the expertise to get the job done right and help you stay HIPAA compliant.
Request an estimate on our website or by calling 860-627-5800 to learn more. Our experts will ask you a few questions to better understand your requirements, after which they will tell you exactly what to expect from start to finish, including the cost.