In the coming years, millions and millions of patients’ data will be compiled into Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. For this, the federal government has created a level of confidentiality for Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) and is imposing fines for breaches of HIPAA. HITECH or Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 allocated about $19 billion dollars to assist physicians and health care centers to accept this transition. $17 billion would be allocated to healthcare centers and physicians who utilize this system.
However, transfer of personal and private data from paper documents that utilizes direct faxes to an electronic process that relies on unsecure email will naturally raise security concerns. Data in transportation via non-secure channels can be breached with relative ease and could be used with a malicious intent. Patients are predictably worried that best practices might not be observed to safeguard their confidential data.
To be abreast of these updates in Health Information Technology (HIT), health centers and physicians are required to find and utilize safe and secure computers and email programs that are compliant with both HITECH and HIPAA standards. Just as different treatments are available for different ailments, a wide range of options exists regarding security and email applications. It can be confusing for health centers and doctors to go through such vast options and find the one that is suited to their needs and budgets.
Some organizations have implemented an economical system that can be scaled to suit your requirements. Whether it is a tiny clinic or a large healthcare center, systems can be tailored to meet the demands of their patients. There are some applications which obliterate the need for on-site IT resources or maintenance and work on most known web browser or merge with outlook email accounts too.
HITECH medical data software is anticipated to be completely implemented by 2014. With this, the US will move a step closer to the world standard of health care data storage. It will be on the same level as other first-world countries who have their data securely stored a conveniently used.
If you are a covered entity under HIPAA, then you must also make sure that your email system has the required safeguards and encryptions to ensure safe transfer of medical data.