Patient confidentiality is vitally important to the healthcare industry. Your patient’s protected health information (PHI) requires handling with respect and the utmost care. Breeches in this area have a high price tag both in potential harm to patients’ lives and cost to your company. For this reason, healthcare professionals go to great lengths to protect and preserve their patients’ PHI. Use this guide to make sure your copy and print environment remains HIPPA compliant.
Keep Your Copier HIPPA Compliant
Keeping your copiers HIPPA compliant isn’t as simple as buying “HIPPA-compliant” devices. This is a misnomer. Remaining HIPPA compliant requires daily good habits and practices. It is about how you use your devices to handle PHI.Device design and features may make it easier, but it cannot be resolved simply by buying a specific device. Follow these tips to keep your copy and print environment HIPPA compliant:
1) Keep your devices physically secure
Your first level of security is controlling who has physical access to your copiers and printers. If possible, you can keep them in a dedicated room only authorized users can access. In the least, make sure only your staff has physical access to your devices. If you are not able to keep them in a dedicated room, consider using locked paper trays to protect print jobs awaiting pickup. Wherever you locate your devices, disable all USB ports to prevent downloading of client data onto unsecured USB drives.
2) Keep PHI digitally secure
Use devices that require user authentication for access. This can be as simple as a username and password, or more sophisticated like a swipe card or biometrics. Control the data each authorized user can access and restrict all access from unauthorized users. Encrypt data while in digital transit and secure data stored on internal hard drives. Use secure print software to keep data from lying in copy trays and print trays awaiting pick up. Secure print software requires user verification to release print jobs to be printed.
3) Track and monitor activity and usage
Perform regular activity audits to verify usage and transactions. Monitor authorized usage and ensure unauthorized usage isn’t allowed. Make sure all users keep their authentication information private and protected, even from other staff members. Enable the auto log-off function so users don’t remain logged in after use. This will prevent accidental unauthorized access.
4) Secure your hard drives
Don’t forget your copiers save PHI on internal hard drives. If they are leaving your facilities for any reason, make sure you wipe the hard drives clean of sensitive information. If you have unused hard drives, make sure to keep them stored in a secure location. This an easy thing to forget about. Don’t.
5) Keep all software and firmware up-to-date
Hackers are continuously looking for network weaknesses to exploit. It is vital to your network and your patient’s PHI that you keep all software and device firmware up to date. Most software and devices have auto-update features that should be enabled. Don’t let a momentary bug in the firmware or a software glitch be an open door for hackers to steal PHI. Keep it updated!
Let Your Copiers Protect Your Patients Too
Your doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals work hard to protect your patient confidentiality. Don’t let a data breach threaten the integrity of your organization. Use this guide to keep your copy and print environment HIPPA compliant. Platinum Copier Solutions is your Houston area resource for Sharp copiers and services. Contact Us to learn more about getting the right document system for your business.