Professionals that work in the healthcare field have the responsibility of keeping patient information confidential. Essentially, secure patient information such as their diagnoses, symptoms and other sensitive information should only be shared with medical personnel when necessary. In fact, it is against federal law to share secure patient information when it is not necessary, and doing so may constitute a HIPAA violation.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the law that protects patient confidentiality. HIPAA violations can lead to serious monetary consequence with fines starting at $100. These fines can be up $50,000 per violation with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year. Criminal penalties for HIPAA violations can involve lengthy imprisonment ranging from one to 10 years. Imprisonment often comes along with fiscal penalties as well.
Avoiding HIPAA Penalties
Maintaining patient confidentiality is much easier said than done. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are crowded with plenty of people, including civilians and medical personnel. It may be necessary to communicate patient information with others within these crowded facilities. For example, it may be necessary to speak with dining co-workers about a change in a patient’s diagnosis that affects their diet.
While many buildings may have private meeting areas for these conversations to take place, speaking in these locations may not always be feasible. Medical personnel in healthcare facilities are often busy and may not have time to find a private speaking area to relay sensitive information. This may be especially true when the personnel in question spans many buildings and multiple locations. Taking the time to type out an email may provide a solution, but it can also take awhile to send the initial message and to receive a reply. For these reasons, it is smart to invest in a secure messaging system for healthcare professionals.
Using a secure messaging system can help to ensure that the patient’s information is kept confidential. The information is also sent quickly, which makes it possible for a quick reply to be sent. A system like this can also make it possible to quickly and efficiently send images, videos and voice recordings, which allows the sender to be certain that the recipient will understand the messages.
Sending information using a secure messaging system for healthcare professionals can reduce the number of people that may gain access to the information, therefore reducing the possibility of fines and criminal penalties.