Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

The Importance of Having a HIPAA and HITECH Compliant Call Center

May 28, 2014

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) were enacted to provide federal protection for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates. The covered entities are healthcare providers, health plans and healthcare clearinghouses. This means everyone from pharmacies to organizations that process nonstandard health information can be part of the covered entities that have to abide by both laws, and noncompliance can be a very costly proposition.

Depending on what kind of service a call center provides it can be one of those entities, and having a HIPAA and HITECH compliant center can provide healthcare professionals with the peace of mind they need to not have to worry about any violations.

A compliant medical answering service must have professionals that are trained to handle calls covering many different scenarios. Whether it is a routine call or an emergency, each interaction must provide accurate information, multilingual options and deliver the required help in a timely manner. Additionally, healthcare providers should be able to screen the calls and access the account online anytime to ensure the center is providing the agreed upon service.

The online access should also be extended to customers because of the many touch points customers have at their disposal. Smartphones, tablets, computers and traditional phones are all ways in which customers can use to get in touch with a call center. A center that is compliant should have the capability to receive and send confidential messages using these technologies.

If the healthcare provider wants to use additional Web related services to allow patients to make appointments as well as hold events online such as webinars, provide web chats and conduct surveys, the call center must take the same precautions to ensure all the information is protected and recorded.

The center must also continually train the staff because HIPAA and HITECH are always being amended. If the center does not keep up with the most recent changes in the laws, it can expose the healthcare facility as well as the call center to fines and lawsuits.

Finding the right HIPAA and HITECH compliant call center is an exhaustive process, but it doesn't stop once the search is over. Healthcare providers must remain vigilant and regularly carry out inspections to ensure all the rules and regulations are being followed to the letter; because the federal government is unyielding when it comes to doling out fines to violators.

If you're interested in hearing more, CX Hot Trends Symposium is next week, June 2-4 in Indianapolis. As a special discount for our readers we are offering a 25% off discount with code “CX25OFF”. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle