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Medical Answering Service
(Medical Practices, Nursing Homes, Home Health Care, Home Care Aids/Nurses and Health Care Systems)
Answering Services have to follow HIPAA too... As an answering service we are responsible for Personal Health Information, we must make sure that no patient information leaves our location.
The rules for HIPAA & HITECH apply to all business associates of a medical practice. We are a HIPAA and HITECH complaint answering service. All our service is provided in house and under the guidelines acquired through HIPAA and HITECH training provided by 3rd party instructors. All calls are monitored and transactions are recorded.
Our staff in trained that HIPAA is any and all medical information. They are instructed of their responsibilities in protecting PHI (Personal Health Information), all sign a confidentiality agreement prior to their training begins. In simple terms they are educated as to what is PHI and have a firm understanding that nothing is to leave our location verbally or in written form.
What is and is not permitted by answering services according to the HITECH Act of 2009.....Know your Responsibilities!
What is allowed by HITECH for electronic message relay:
Phone Call: We are permitted to take and relay any information over the phone to the on call individual. This is after a HIPAA agreement has been made between the answering service and the medical practice. PHI may not be relayed to any unauthorized individuals.
Numeric Paging: This is sending a phone number or other NON PHI information to a digital or alpha digital pager or cell phone. This message is relayed insecure but no PHI is transmitted.
Faxing: We are permitted to fax messages to the office of our medical clients. We are not permitted to fax information to any other location other than those authorized by the client.
Encrypted Messaging: This is where the answering service sends you an password protected and secure message to a smart phone. After logging into the app or website you will be given access to PHI that was acquired during the taking of the patients message. There are many 3rd party apps for this at a cost, we offer Secure Delivery to our clients at no additional cost!
Secure Email: This is sending an email through a specific password protected and encrypted email server.
What is not allowed by HITECH: (If your current provider is doing any of these, BEWARE you are responsible for their actions)
For full information regarding the HITECH Act of 2009, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.