PHI data breaches can cause a lot of problems for both the medical organizations and for the patients to which the protected health information (PHI) belongs to.
PHI holders whose information have been breached can experience severe social damage to his or her career, reputation, family, and even lifestyle.
The impact of PHI data breaches are so severe that it can even lead PHI holders to sue the organization and demand compensation for the damages that occurred.
Because of these repercussions, it is highly important for medical establishments to only work with contact centers that are HIPAA compliant and that practice a high sense of PHI data security.
This blog post will cover two important tips on methods that HIPAA-compliant contact centers can use to prevent data breaches.
Our goal at the end of this post is that you’d be able to identify contact centers that use methods and strategies that are aligned with preventing data breaches.
Employing Risk Assessments
Risk assessments involve utilizing a third-party security expert to conduct a thorough check up on the kind of safety and security level that is used in a contact center’s operating procedures.
These experts then give feedback to the agency on how they could improve their safety standards to prevent becoming a victim of possible data breaches.
Consider some of the following scenarios:
- Agents leaving their desktop computers open and accessible while taking a break, allowing unauthorized individuals to view and even access the PHI.
- PHI storage devices not utilizing any encryption software, thereby leaving the data easily accessible in the event of the device either being stolen or lost.
- Agents discussing confidential PHI details among their peers, colleagues, and other individuals who are not authorized to know these details.
Because lapses such as these can sometimes be overlooked, investing in risk assessments would help pinpoint vulnerable areas in a contact center’s information handling and storage.
These lapses and vulnerabilities can then be corrected by the agency via proper employee training or by using the right cyber-security and encryption tools.
Utilizing Uniform Training
Another way of reducing the likelihood of a data breach is to ensure that all employees go through and pass a uniform training program that focuses on HIPAA compliance.
These employees should be fluent with the HIPAA compliance guidelines and should be kept up-to-date with any changes and updates to the Act’s regulations.
The agency’s management should also regularly remind and emphasize to agents the important operating procedures and policies that they need to maintain as they go about their daily tasks.
Some of these procedures could include the following:
- Agents ensuring that their screens have to be protected from the view of other unauthorized individuals at all times.
- Agents storing files in secured locations and utilizing secure emails and phone lines when disseminating sensitive PHI.
- Agents encrypting files before sending them and utilizing password-locks when taking breaks to ensure that unauthorized individuals could not access their devices.
Emphasizing these guidelines and setting consequences for compliance-failure would lessen the chances of data breaches happening because of any lapses on the agent’s part.
If you’re looking for a HIPAA-compliant contact center to outsource your patient’s PHI handling, storage, and management needs, allow us to help.
Executive Boutique is a fully-compliant HIPAA call center that is well-versed with patient privacy and never overlooks data security.
For more information, click the contact button on the upper-right part of this page to contact us today.
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