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What You Need to Know about Fax Security and HIPAA

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Healthcare Business Capability Model (1-page PDF document). A business capability model for a Healthcare company. To be used as a core document for Enterprise Architects and EA work. Also very valuable to Business Architects and Business Architecture projects/programmes. The Healthcare Business Capability Model provides a comprehensive framework for [read more]

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Online faxing is convenient and beneficial for all organizations, but business leaders must ensure the services remain HIPAA compliant and meet IT standards. Security is of the utmost importance when transmitting medical data and sharing patient records. Any violation of HIPAA leads to penalties and serious restrictions. Here’s what you need to know about fax security and HIPAA.

Protecting Healthcare Records

HIPAA regulations protect healthcare records and prevent unauthorized viewing and access. Organizations that transmit medical files must follow all requirements outlined in the law, and if they fail to comply, the organization faces hefty fines. With HIPAA-compliant faxing services, companies get adequate security for medical records transmissions and won’t have to worry about data loss or unauthorized use of medical information. Learn more about fax security through an online faxing service provider.

Preventing Identity Theft

The acquisition of medical files could give criminals a chance to commit identity theft. Cyber thieves collect medical information to use a patient’s health insurance illegally and get access to health services. If they can collect these details, criminals are able to max out the patient’s benefits before the person knows about it. Unethical use of medical files may lead to federal offenses and lengthy prison sentences. All companies that fax medical information must ensure that data has the appropriate level of security.

Unauthorized Viewing and Access

All medical information transmitted via fax must have a HIPAA-approved cover letter. The sender must have the correct verbiage on the cover letter that lets everyone know the documents include medical records as directed by HIPAA. Most online faxing services offer templates for cover letters to make transmissions easier, and the workers select a cover letter through the services. If they do not add the cover letter, they are in violation of the law, and the company will face fines and serious penalties. Some healthcare organizations can lose accreditation if they violate federal laws.

Securing Faxing Services to the Network

The service provider sets up connections for all workers and the business owner once online faxing services are purchased. Companies pay a fee each month for faxing services based on the package the owner chooses, and security measures apply to all connections. Using online faxing services through a company network increases the security of all documents transmitted, and outsiders cannot view or access any medical data.

Creating Worker User Accounts

All workers need their own user accounts when using online faxing services. Service providers create user names and secure passwords for each account and connect them to worker email accounts. The design blocks outsiders, and other workers cannot use each other’s user accounts at any time. These measures prevent unauthorized viewing of medical data and keep all information secure. Network administrators maintain logs of all activity on the online faxing services and provide details to business owners if there is a security breach or suspected unethical use of medical information.

Organizations that fax confidential data must comply with federal laws based on the information they transmit. Organizations that send or receive medical data must remain HIPAA compliant and protect patient data. Online faxing services are available to organizations and are convenient to use, but all workers must have proper permissions and authorization to connect to the services. Speak to an online faxing service provider about what you need to do to remain compliant with HIPAA and IT standards.

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.


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