The Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) mandates that healthcare providers protect patient information. That general mandate requires that doctors zero in on the specifics of their office operations. Examine your patient-staff interactions from the time a patient calls the office for an appointment to the time they check out and you may be surprised at how often you inadvertently release protected information.
The key to HIPAA compliance is based on the concept of preserving and protecting the patient’s privacy and dignity. It simply isn’t as easy as it sounds and we need to be constantly vigilant. Here is a checklist to assess how well your office operations comply with HIPAA. Keep in mind that doctors should always consult their own attorney or state board for clarification.
1. Don’t Repeat Sensitive Info with Others Present
2. Use Discretion when Verifying Insurance Information
3. Turn Over Sensitive Documents and Turn Computer Screen Away
4. Keep Personal Information Off Sign-In Sheet
5. Ask Whether Elderly Would Like Caretaker to Accompany in Exam Room
6. Always Debrief Parents of Minors–Even When Parents Not in Exam Room
7. Conduct Parent or Caretaker Debrief in Private
8. Don’t Publicize Diagnosis and Treatment Plan at Check-Out