Anyone who works in health care is probably familiar with HIPAA, but business owners need to be particularly diligent as non-compliance can result in both financial and legal penalties. However, understanding what compliance with HIPAA and other laws like HITECH entails can be difficult for those who are new to the industry. HIPAA compliance is also necessary at every level of your business, which can necessitate a great deal of planning and attention to detail. Businesses that use a cloud-based contact center or a physical call center may find themselves wondering what security standards they specifically must use. If you plan to use a call center for your health care business, keep reading to learn more about whether or not your call center is required to be HIPAA compliant.
Does your call center need to be HIPAA compliant?
First, let’s start by going over what HIPAA is and what it covers. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The federal law was passed in 1996 with the aim of protecting patient privacy with regard to their private health information (PHI). HIPAA sets standards for appropriate use and handling of PHI, including electronic PHI (ePHI), password protection, comprehensive data encryption, and secure data storage.
Businesses operating within the health care sector are also bound by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), which contains several updates to the protections within HIPAA and improves the security of patient PHI and ePHI. This is why regular training sessions on HIPAA and HITECH are important for employees who need to stay aware of current rules and regulations.
If your business handles PHI or ePHI, all of your communications with patients must be HIPAA compliant, including those routed through your call center. Given that HIPAA compliance for call centers is essential, it’s important for your business to invest in solutions that protect both your company and your customers.
Why is maintaining patient privacy important?
There are a number of reasons that patient privacy is crucial, beyond just that basic privacy protections are legally required for any health care business. Safeguarding your patients’ private information is also important for building trust and helping them feel comfortable seeking treatment for more sensitive health issues.
Sexual health issues can sometimes cause patients to hesitate before asking for help. Those who use non-prescription products like VigRX plus should also check in with their doctor with broader questions and updates on whether or not they’re seeing improvement. Explaining HIPAA and the protections it offers to those who aren’t medically literate can help make them feel more comfortable discussing issues like erectile dysfunction or other conditions relating to sexual health in person and over the phone.
The rise in telemedicine and teletherapy has created even more of a need for call centers that are capable of handling communication about these types of sensitive issues in a way that ensures full compliance with the law. Failure to abide by HIPAA and HITECH can result in significant fines and lawsuits against your business or organization.
Patient privacy is the foundation of any successful health care enterprise, especially if you aim to help patients with sensitive issues like those relating to sexual health. Since patient communication is a large part of any business within the health sector, that means you’ll need to guarantee that everyone from the owners of the company to your call center agents is trained in adhering to HIPAA requirements. One way to avoid HIPAA violations in conversations with patients is to invest in the services of a HIPAA-compliant call center. If you work in health care or your business is responsible for handling sensitive patient health information, ensuring full compliance with HIPAA should be one of your highest priorities.