HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a well-known law in the healthcare industry. The law deals with multiple common concerns, especially health insurance coverage, but is most known today for its privacy requirements. HIPAA requires healthcare providers or any company to handle healthcare information to implement whatever regulations or strategies are necessary to keep that information confidential. If some must be shared with another party, only the bare minimum can be shared.
HIPAA doesn’t just apply to conversations with a doctor or a patient’s electronic file, however. Printed copies of confidential health information require the same level of protection. Does your office printer provide the level of security needed to be compliant with HIPAA? If not, it’s time to get things back on track.
In a healthcare office, every piece of machinery has to be HIPPA-compliant--even the printer. Here’s how to ensure your patients’ information stays safe. #PlatinumCopierSolutions #hipaa Click To Tweet
Who has access to your printing room? If any random person can walk in and swipe printed documents with private patient data, you need to rethink your strategy. Keep the copier/printer in an employees-only room and consider adding a locking paper tray. Furthermore, try to disable any USB ports on the printer so no one can copy patient information onto an unsecured flash drive. Knowing and controlling who has access to your printer goes a long way toward improved security.
As important as physical security is, virtual security is arguably far more critical. Unsecured wifi networks or a lack of access control could allow a hacker to remotely mess with your copier/printer and skim data off documents sent for printing. Double-check the security measures on all your wifi networks, especially those used for sending documents to the printer. Set up an identity verification method, such as a username and password, necessary to access the printer to prevent unauthorized users from getting in. Finally, keep all your printer software up to date! An older software setup may have a security bug that an update will patch.
Pro Tip: If your printer or any associated hard drives leave your healthcare office for any reason (for instance, a scheduled repair), wipe all the data stored on them first. Any information leaking out is a serious HIPAA violation.
Monitor Usage & Activity
Even in the most secure environment, something could still go wrong. As one final security measure, keep an eye on who uses your printer and when they do. Even authorized users may forget to log out or wipe private data, leaving the system vulnerable. Monitoring the printer’s activity will provide an additional layer of protection for a fully HIPAA-compliant office.
Protect Your Patients On All Fronts
Of all the possible ways confidential information can be lost or stolen, the printer seems to be low on the priority list. However, office printers can be easy targets if not adequately secured. Make sure all your equipment complies with HIPAA to keep your patients’ information safe and protect your healthcare practice.
Connect with us for more information on observing HIPAA in your office.