There is a growing need and standard in the healthcare industry for healthcare professionals to keep detailed records of all interactions with patients. This not only protects the patient and the medical personnel involved, but it also ensures a certain level of care and continuity in that care. As a result, all interactions between medical personnel and patients, as well as audio journals (dictation) pertaining to patient records, must be handled and documented properly for future reference. As a result, there is an ever-increasing demand for professional transcription services that can handle personal/medical records with ease.
When it comes to handling patient records, the medical system requires a great deal of discretion. Medical transcription companies are required to meet the HIPAA compliance minimum standard.
Only those individuals who are directly involved with the patient’s care should have access to the patient records for reasons of patient confidentiality. This is relevant to the following:
– Direct care personnel (RNs, LPNs, physicians, and surgical staff, among others)
– Clerical personnel (Billing, admitting)
– Assistive personnel (imaging technicians, lab workers, social workers, etc)
Outside groups or agencies may be given access to patient information in some cases, usually for legal reasons (law enforcement, attorneys, etc).
For many years, the nature of HIPAA has worked well in protecting the confidentiality of patients and the staff who work with them. Unfortunately, transcription services must be brought in as well due to the nature of dictation (staff cannot always write everything down). As a result, those transcription companies must work hard to keep patient records private.
Keep in mind that, as previously stated, legal professionals will need access to patient records for civil and criminal law purposes. Even if a transcription agency does not provide medical transcription, it must maintain confidentiality and comply with HIPAA regulations. They could still come across those records while trancribing for an attorney or preparing for a trial or criminal hearing. HIPAA sets a standard for how records should be handled in terms of confidentiality even when medical records are not present. Other professionals who handle any aspect of client information for transcription purposes may benefit from remaining HIPAA compliant. People asked Why Is Interoperability Important In Healthcare IT? This is especially true for data derived from legal/law enforcement transcription, which requires the protection of confidential information in order to protect victims’ and criminal rights, as well as sensitive trial information.
Whether working with medical records or any other confidential client information, a transcription company can ensure confidentiality and protect the businesses and organisations they work with, their extended client network, and, of course, themselves in a variety of ways.
Controlling the Record Format
One of the most effective ways to protect data is to convert from tape-based to electronic formats. Patient and client information on hard copies can be misplaced, stolen, or damaged. The use of hard copies for audio recordings is discouraged among legal and professional staff, who are instead directed to use digital formats. These files are simple to transfer to a transcription service and can be encrypted to keep client information safe.
Controlling Who Has Access
Password protection has long been used to keep sensitive information and access to restricted areas safe. Whether a company uses an in-house transcription group or an outsourced transcription agency, it’s still an effective method used by transcription services.
It’s critical for those involved in client and patient care to stay current as HIPAA standards change. Modern professional transcription services frequently attend regular training, meetings, and seminars to keep up with the latest HIPAA compliance updates.
If an agency or organisation deals with sensitive or confidential client data, such as medical records, it’s critical to work with a transcription service that follows HIPAA compliance and best practices on a daily basis.