If a business hopes to sustain itself, it must not only aspire to be profitable but it also must work within the confines of the rules. Many companies in the medical transcription software business have not paid too much attention to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This activity is a mistake, and companies that do not take heed will pay for it in the long run.
The HIPAA was created in 1996 and the goal was to give patients rights when it came to the privacy of information that is included in their medical files. The Act was put together for a reason, and not only is it against the law to contravene the Act but it is also a poor moral standard on which to base a company. If the software provider does not align itself with the provisions in the HIPAA, then other companies will not wish to associate with it.
There is a reason why a number of companies have failed to comply with the provisions in the Act and that is because it costs money. In order to protect patient information properly, a number of different things have to be built into the software platform. To begin with, the company providing a software platform will have to have a compliant data center that is monitored at all times and has the sufficient security standards.
When a company offers medical transcription software platforms to transcription companies, it will generally have solutions that are server based and located on its own promises or ones that it leases from another company. Companies that are considering hiring a software provider should consult them about what kind of servers they will use and if there are redundancies that will protect the integrity of the information that is stored on them.
The physical access to the servers is also an important component of the HIPAA compliance. Companies should discuss with the software provider who will have access to those servers. It should only be senior engineers that will access these locations physically. There should also be redundant power supply options to ensure the integrity of the data.
The compliance issue will also affect the way that jobs are sent to medical transcriptionists to work on. They need to be sent in an encrypted manner and companies that are using 128 bit SSL encryption are providing real security for the data. It is not only important that the jobs be sent strictly, but also that all actions that are performed on the system are recorded so that an audit trail can be followed if necessary.
Obviously, putting all of these things into place can be expensive. When compared with the cost of not complying with the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the cost seems rather minimal. It is prudent for a company to protect its information and the public embarrassment that would ensue if they were security below standard would be devastating. The Act not only sets out the rules, but it sets out reasonable guidelines for the way that medical transcription companies should act.