Keeping patient’s Protected Health Information (PHI) safe is an important responsibility for anyone in the healthcare industry. If you work with PHI, chances are you’ve been trained on how to keep it confidential and comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Violations of HIPAA could mean hefty fines for your organization or worse.
Use the following tips to refresh your knowledge on handling PHI and ePHI.
- Don’t share sensitive PHI with people who shouldn’t have access, including co-workers.
- When you disclose PHI, make an effort to share only the minimum necessary information required to achieve the purpose.
- When discussing a patient, be sure to use discretion and not to use their full name when in hearing distance from others.
- Don’t share passwords with your coworkers. Only use strong passwords and change them every six months.
- Consider using secure messaging platforms to share information rather than encrypted email. On these platforms, access to PHI is only available to authorized users with an assigned username and PIN, and whose activity is monitored.
- When disposing PHI, be sure to shred all of your paper files. For digital files, consider all of the places where the data could be backed up and archived and make sure that they are scheduled for deletion and that they’ll be securely erased.
- Position your workstations in a way that prevents unauthorized individuals from viewing your screen to make it harder for the devices to be accessed without permission.
- Use a closed network for wireless internet connection that only allows access via a VPN.
Protecting your patient’s information helps maintain their trust and keeps you from unwanted consequences. Learn more on how to stay compliant with HIPAA and keep you and your patients safe.