The coronavirus pandemic changed the world. With virtuality and digital services increase maintaining privacy compliance become more difficult. In the healthcare industry, different factors increased the risk of private health information include:
Telehealth Visits: The number of healthcare provider visits conducted over the web has skyrocketed. Patients who typically make short trips to the clinic or office decide to stay home and see their physician virtually, unless an in-person visit is absolutely necessary. Data protection over the Internet is difficult if proper precautions are overlooked.
Increased Patient Count: Now that many states allow most procedures and visits to occur, there has been an onslaught of appointments. When paired with physical distancing guidelines, offices are often short on staff when schedules are maxed out. This situation creates an opportunity for HIPAA compliance mistakes.
Multiple Care Providers: Patients often see multiple doctors. However, increased testing and varied result times make things cloudy. Primary care physicians receiving updates from multiple testing labs, patients, or hospitals means data is moving in and out at a faster pace (if dealing with potential virus cases).
We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency. We are especially concerned about reaching those most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities. – Roger Severino, OCR Director.
The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided Bulletins, Notifications of Enforcement Discretion, Guidance, and Resources that help explain how patient health information may be used and disclosed in response to the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. Check the HHS.gov for more information.
"We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency. We are especially concerned about reaching those most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities". – Roger Severino, OCR Director.
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