Most healthcare organizations rely on faxes to transfer patient information. Healthcare workers must use a specific protocol to ensure their faxes are HIPPA compliant. Without compliance, healthcare organizations face various penalties. With this guide, understanding how to secure a HIPPA compliant fax will become much easier for those working in the healthcare industry.
HIPPA Violation Penalties Are Severe
Since HIPPA laws came into effect, the healthcare industry has been scrambling to ensure they are compliant with all laws. In addition to choosing a plan from mFax, those in the healthcare industry also need to be aware of the penalties they face for non-compliance.
There are multiple violation categories regarding HIPPA laws. Fines for non-compliance are hefty, sometimes reaching as high as $25,000 per incidence when issued by a state attorney. The Office of Civil Rights can allocate an even higher penalty for healthcare organizations. Violations could result in retributions as high as $1.5 million per category of violation.
Because the penalties are so extensive, healthcare workers must ensure they are sending HIPPA-compliant faxes or they could end up violating the law. Thankfully, there are some tips healthcare workers can follow to ensure they send faxes safely and according to the law.
Tips for Securing HIPPA Compliance While Faxing
Handling any type of protected health information can be tricky at times. While the law is clear, many people still find sending patient health information over fax intimidating. Consider the following tips for HIPPA-compliant faxing.
- While it may be tempting to walk away while a fax is sent, this is against HIPPA laws. Always stay with the fax machine until the fax transmission is complete. The fax could get into the wrong hands if a sender walks away from the machine.
- It is also beneficial for healthcare workers to use a HIPPA-compliant cloud-based fax service. These fax services offer military-grade encryption technology that follows all HIPPA compliance laws.
- Healthcare workers must ensure they send a fax disclaimer with every fax that contains protected health information. This disclaimer is required by HIPPA laws to be included with every fax containing PHI. This disclaimer simply warns against unauthorized access.
- Keeping an audit trail of all faxes is essential for the healthcare industry. If using cloud fax, the server automatically keeps an audit trail, so healthcare organizations will not have to worry about compliance.
- PHI breaches typically occur because patient information is stolen from portable devices. When healthcare organizations switch to the cloud, they are not carrying around PHI. Keeping all faxes in the cloud ensures PHI protection.
General Rules for HIPPA-Compliant Faxing
There are some basic rules everyone must follow for HIPPA-compliant faxing. Consider the following.
- Extra security measures must be taken to ensure the protection of all PHI.
- Healthcare organizations must run security checks consistently.
- Automatic virus and malware scanning must be enabled.
- Healthcare organizations must update any old fax software and applications.
- All third-party integrations must be duly authorized for HIPPA compliance.
- Every fax account must use secure and unique passwords.
- Healthcare organizations must remain alert to any click baits or phishing scams.
Discover More Information
While HIPPA-compliance may seem stressful, the process of sending faxes securely is not as difficult as one might think. With a cloud service, HIPPA compliance is much easier to obtain. Each fax is sent securely, so healthcare organizations will not have to worry about compliance issues.
Those who are concerned about PHI fax transmissions need to ensure they are following the law explicitly. Using a fax server is one of the easiest methods for reaching HIPPA compliance.