These days, it’s vital for health facilities to comply with all regulations governing quality patient care. With dozens of laws existing now and occasional legal updates in the United States, it’s daunting for providers to comply with them all. Therefore, healthcare organizations are constantly looking for solutions to make compliance less confusing and time-consuming, as well as avoid heavy fines. One of the most proven ways to facilitate this process is implementing healthcare compliance software into the company.
In this article, TEAM International analyzes the key regulations, what types of healthcare software must comply with them, and how technology ensures a more straightforward observation of laws.
Key Healthcare Regulations
There are many laws developed for providers to regulate individual medical information and health services. Here are the most popular of them:
- The 21st Century Cures Act covers the drug and device development process, modernization of health services, and digital medicine.
- The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) regulates the promotion of medical device innovations and a safe drug supply chain.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is associated with (e)Protected Health Information (ePHI) and aimed to preserve sensitive patient data.
- The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) focuses on data exchange security and promotes the use of electronic health record systems.
- The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) was created to ensure a safe environment for patient care, data confidentiality, and performance improvements in medical facilities.
In essence, the list can go on and on. To comply with all these regulations, more and more companies turn to software solutions. As we know from our experience, introducing technology can speed up new regulations analysis, focus your resources on service quality, cut down operational costs, and invest them in more important spheres. Let’s uncover how technology helps providers ensure better healthcare compliance in detail.
#1 Protect data with healthcare compliance software
IT healthcare policies require organizations to secure patients’ health information storage and transfer. Technological innovation cuts both ways. Initially, it makes personal health information vulnerable to cybercrimes, but on the other hand, it protects data from those threats. Therefore, healthcare IT legislation has so many regulations and laws associated with health information protection.
To meet even the most stringent requirements concerning patient’s data at rest and in transit, medical providers can deploy healthcare compliance software. Wonder how exactly it can help organizations meet the regulations? Let’s get it sorted out:
- Access control. This type of software uses role-based access control to limit the number of employees who can log in to the system. Besides, such software can limit the amount of data available for each covered entity across the organization. To ensure valid authentication of medical staff when logging to the system, it uses various security mechanisms such as multi-factor authentication, expiring passwords, biometrics, physical cards, or electronic keys.
- Data encryption. One of the best ways to protect medical records is data storage solutions with encryption. Compliance software solutions use proven encryption protocols as the National Institute of Standards and Technology demands. Even if data leakage happens somehow, hackers won’t be able to read it without a secret decryption key.
- PHI backup. HIPAA Security Rule requires healthcare institutions to store a copy of a patient’s data in a safe place. Meanwhile, copying, checking relevance, and updating each copy manually may be time-consuming and distressing for caregivers. Modern solutions and technologies allow providers to back up patient cards in the cloud, update them regularly and automatically, and recover the latest versions whenever needed.
- Activity tracking system. This technology can track and record all activities within the system. Hence, it can detect suspicious actions, notify you about them, and prevent possible data theft.
#2 Enable processes automation
Automation and digitalization of business functions become crucial for industry leaders in today’s online world. For healthcare providers, automated processes can streamline their back-office operations, reduce human errors, and create a more personalized patient experience.
Furthermore, intelligent automation ensures compliance and liability. Medical disclosure laws state that healthcare facilities have to address patients’ expectations for proper and safe care. In this context, different types of software used in healthcare can help caregivers to:
- Speed up data entry and reduce the likelihood of mistakes caused by human factor;
- Provide accurate drug dosage by using barcoded wristbands;
- Avoid errors in transcriptions;
- Administer medicine to the right patient with automated dispensing devices;
- Recognize and report human errors to prevent them in the future.
#3 Retrieve patients’ medical records quickly
The new HIPAA version entitles patients to access their PHI and obliges healthcare institutions to provide individuals with information within 36 hours after the request. Patients may demand their medical records in paper or electronic formats, and a covered entity must address this request accordingly.
With the new HIPAA time limits, it can be challenging for medical staff to find necessary papers among thousands of others in historical data. That’s why implementing cloud-based technology is crucial for healthcare providers. It stores all the documents conveniently, enables data sharing between devices or departments, and makes the document retrieval process fast. In addition to this, providing people with easy access to their PHI is the central aspect of a more patient-centered experience.
#4 Facilitate training management for medical staff
The Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) obligates all healthcare organizations to educate and train employees on safety measures and industry laws. Compliance training includes an introduction to internal policies, procedures, HIPAA requirements, Medicare and Medicaid programs, and many more regulations.
Some training has to be done in practice, but most theoretical courses can go online. Using training management software, healthcare institutions can cut down costs as there is no need for classrooms and overtime payment for training. Moreover, this technology helps track and record employees’ training progress to guarantee compliance with the requirements.
We know that the list of all healthcare regulations may seem too long and hard to comply with. As technological innovations advance every year, the US government releases updates to IT legislation policies in medical institutions as well. We should admit that all requirements are created not to complicate medical staff work, but to ensure top-notch patient care and experience. Apart from providing excellent services, as managers, we need to maintain industry conformity to protect our businesses from fines that can cost millions of dollars.
Despite all the hurdles in medical IT laws, various types of healthcare software help identify gaps in compliance, monitor changes in regulations, and easily meet them.
While technology ensures legal compliance, you may focus on providing even better patient care.