This session will review the requirements and current issues pertaining to mobile devices and present ways for the attendees to consider how to meet patient desires and stay within the regulations, including processes for managing portable devices, policies needed for ensuring secure communications and storage where needed, and procedures for meeting and documenting patient requests.
The session will explain the HIPAA regulations that apply to the use of portable devices, both as tools for staff to use, and as a means of communication with patients. Proper use of portable devices requires consideration of a variety of purposes: for personal use, for business use not involving any identifiable patient information, for business use that does involve identifiable patient information, and for commnications with patients. Each type of use requires careful consideration of the rules and the risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
For business uses with no patient information, the constraints are few, so long as you are sure there is no patient information involved with those uses, But if you include any patient information, you need to ensure the information is protected. Even so, patients are allowed to ask to communicate with you in any way you can reasonably handle. Just what is reasonable and what is allowed according to guidance from HHS is discussed.
When it comes to using mobile devices to interact with medical records systems, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued draft guidance on such use (NIST SP 1800-1), including recommendations on how to secure communications and how to vet your HIPAA business associates providing communications. The guidance will be presented and discussed.
Once patient information is involved, the devices used by a provider or their staff must be properly secured through the use of good passscodes and encryption with remote wiping of data if lost or stolen, and if you allow staff to use their own devices for business work, what happens when they trade in their old phone when the new one comes out?
If you communicate with patients using portable devices, you need to consider the issues of privacy and security, as well as those of triaging incoming connuications and documenting conversations. Just plain texting is not readily adaptable to the requirements of patient care and documentation, but secure, appropriate solutions are available.
Finally, we will discuss the enforcement of HIPAA rules and how they relate to mobile devices, the issues that can lead to enforcement, and the impacts of enforcement actions, including monetary settlements and corrective action plans.
Why should you Attend: The HIPAA regulations require the use of the mode of communication requested by the individual, if the provider has the capability to reasonably do so, and also require the consideration of secure technologies for communications and storage of data. The result is that the use of portable devices by patients and staff can be complicated and requires careful consideration of the regulations, how the devices will be used and secured, and patient desires.
HHS compliance audit activity and enforcement penalties are both increased, especially in instances of willful neglect of compliance, if, for instance, your organization hasn’t adequately considered the impact of mobile devices on your compliance. Given that mobile devices are a leading source of breaches of PHI, it is essential to consider these devices and how their use affects the privacy and security of PHI; not doing so is inviting enforcement action by HHS.
Areas Covered in the Session: