A good HIPAA and HITECH compliant answering service goes to great lengths to protect sensitive information.
HIPAA and HITECH (The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Â have become very popular acronyms since it became know that the Obamacare website for enrolling in health insurance admittedly said they donâ€™t have to be HIPAA compliant.
Despite the governmentâ€™s claims that HIPAA doesnâ€™t concern them because they are merely a facilitator of insurance companies and citizens enrolling in insurance plans, private businesses are held to the highest compliance regulations whether or not those companies buy, sell, insure, or provide medical services.
While there is no government recognized certification body (beware of organizations touting certification for HIPAA and HITECH), there is ample guidance offered by the government (HHS, CMS) to help businesses comply with the laws.
The basic concept is of course protecting personal health information.Â This includes birth dates, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and a myriad of other information. A good HIPAA and HITECH compliant answering service goes to great lengths to protect patient information.
As you search for a HIPAA and HITECH compliant answering service that understands HIPAA and HITECH, feel free to ask what processes and procedures they have in place that help them comply with these laws, not only for themselves, but on behalf of their call center customers as well.
Whether or not you are in the medical industry, you should take extra measures to ensure that your live support provider is a HIPAA and HITECH compliant answering service.
Some great questions to ask potential service providers:
- Does your answering service provide training to its employees concerning HIPAA and HITECH?Â Do they address simple questions like 1) What is it?Â 2)Â Why is it important?Â 3)Â What is our responsibility?Â 4)Â Do we promise to maintain the privacy of HIPAA protected information?
- Does your answering service carry Errors & Omissions insurance?
- Does your answering service carry identity theft and/or cyber liability insurance?
- Does your answering service serve the medical establishment at large?
Affirmative answers to these questions can help provide you with some assurance that you have a HIPAA and HITECH compliant answering service and/or call center is but why should you care?
You should care because if the answering service does serve the medical industry and is not compliant, they are putting countless numbers of people at risk for identity and health information theft and potential harm.Â If they are not a HIPAA and HITECH compliant answering service, they are telling you that odds are that they are not complying with PCI standards to protect your credit card information either.
Their attitude toward complying with common sense regulations and laws designed to protect us from identity theft and health information theft will tell you their attitude toward your business and your needs.
You want your services to be compliant because you are investing your time, your money, your brand, and your reputation on their ability to answer calls from your customers in a professional, friendly, courteous manner, while maintaining a serious commitment to protecting your private information and the private information of your customers.
We care because compliance with HIPAA and HITECH is the right thing to do.
Compliance costs very little, and protects so much.Â And, itâ€™s Sound business.Â (heh hehâ€¦get it?Â Sound business?Â A little plug for my company:Â Sound Telecom = Sound businessâ€¦)
Carry on, carry forward