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    Friday
    Jul192013

    Get out your brooms: HHS has "sweeping changes" for you

    Cara is a frenzied medical office manager.  She’s been consumed lately with the 500-page page HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule (she calls it the Ominous Rule), which went into effect on March 26, 2013 with mandatory compliance by September 23, 2013.  The rule itself is a positive one: it was designed to enhance patient privacy protection, grant new rights to health information, and strengthen enforceability of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT (HIPAA). 

    Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledges that the rule will mean more audits and higher fines for non-compliance.  Here are a few (not all inclusive) items to consider during your planning process to be ready:

    ·       Sufficient documentation (common systems and processes for a document central repository) to assist risk analysis and management with monitoring and access of outcomes. A few musts:  the ability to search, capture, retrieve and archive information for compliance with meaningful use and attestation process.

    ·       Sustainable and replicable systems/processes for shareable use throughout your company, end user and departments. Remember, you need a process that ensures simple sharing in a secure environment.

    ·       Compliance evaluation with detailed audit trails is necessary to support compliance requirements.  A time saver:  track document life cycle with digital signature stamps for the user and document.

    Set retention dates with automatic workflow procedures to archive and preserve documents for future use and reference.  You need easy, efficient search tools to retrieve archived documents (digital born and scanned documents as well as emails and attachments are part of this process).

    ·       Security and permissions are critical for administration and end user levels for premise and cloud-based solutions (remember, encryption on several layers of electronic documents is required).

     

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