HIPAA Compliance in Orange County CA

The use of mobile phones have become a primary means of communication for many within the healthcare industry, including doctors and healthcare practitioners of all kinds. A cell phone certainly allows for communicating on the go, saving time and allowing healthcare providers to keep up with a demanding workflow. Yet are all physicians and healthcare providers aware that cell phone use could violate HIPAA compliance laws?

According to HIPAA compliance regulations, many of the everyday things that many physicians and healthcare providers do with their phone could put them and their practice at risk. Healthcare group HIPAA compliance services stress that if a mobile phone is used in any of the following ways, such usage could be in violation of today’s security and privacy regulations.

  • Connecting to Insecure WiFi - The easiest way for an information breach to occur is through the use of an insecure internet connection. Even though office and home WiFi may be secure, the moment work emails are checked on a public connection, data is at risk. To avoid HIPAA compliance violations, it is important to connect remotely to a secure, encrypted network or simply avoid connecting to public networks altogether.
  • Cloud Storage - Although today’s smartphones do have a good amount of internal memory, most applications and programs now upload information to cloud servers to store data. Cloud storage is simply space on another company’s servers that receive data transmissions wirelessly. Before using a phone for work purposes, users should ensure that they have turned off the ability to save to the cloud.
  • Texting - Texting has become a commonly used communication method between healthcare colleagues and even patients, as it is quick and efficient. Unfortunately, it can also be risky if communicating secure personal health information (PHI) via text. Due to the possibility that this data can be intercepted during transmission, healthcare group HIPAA compliance services warn that texting PHI is considered a risk and could lead to security violations even if no breach of data occurs.   
  • Contact Storage - Another concern with cell phone use is how today’s smartphones can even automatically store contact information. Whether a  patient’s contact information is intentionally or automatically stored to later phone or text that patient, this is a direct violation of HIPAA compliance laws due to how smartphones use that information to socially connect with people.  
  • Camera - Snapping photos of radiographs and other records to discuss with colleagues can definitely be more convenient than meeting in person every time; however, that also comes with its HIPAA compliance risks. If there is anything in a camera's storage space containing PHI that can identify a patient, that is likely a violation.
  • Device Theft - Consider the fact that a cell phone is possibly one of the most easily misplaced or stolen devices used. If a phone stores any PHI, HIPAA compliance services know that many violations would be involved it the phone were lost. This single idea illustrates the importance of recognizing all of the above ways that a phone could be putting healthcare providers at risk.

So before that next text is sent or a personal phone is used to return a call to a patient, what kind of risk analysis has been done to ensure HIPAA compliance?

Smartphones are amazing devices that many healthcare professionals rely on today; however, cell phones must be properly set up and protected to be HIPAA compliant. Working with experienced HIPAA compliance services, healthcare providers can learn the safest ways to make use of a mobile phone without putting sensitive PHI at risk!

Questions About HIPAA Compliance In Orange County CA?

Contact Intelecis For A HIPAA Compliance Risk Assessment Today!

Call (949) 335-6410!