Telehealth Across State Lines, EHR and HIPAA

Choosing EHR and HIPAA Compliance for your Behavioral Health Practice

MARLENE MAHEU, PhD

November 10, 2017 | Reading Time: 1 Minutes
411

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EHR and HIPAA compliance go hand-in-hand to protect your behavioral health practice from data breaches and government fines.

EHR platforms are necessary to maintain electronic medical records. Common misconceptions surround the use of EHR platforms–foremost of which is that a HIPAA compliant EHR vendor will make your practice HIPAA compliant. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Under HIPAA regulation, all covered entities (health care providers) must be compliant with the full extent of federal HIPAA regulation.

Since HIPAA regulation was first enacted in 1996, there have been significant additions and amendments to the rule. Federal HIPAA regulations that health care providers like behavioral health specialists must comply with include the HIPAA Privacy Rule, HIPAA Security Rule, HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, and the HIPAA Omnibus Rule.

Because behavioral health professionals process and create protected health information (PHI), they must have their own independent HIPAA compliance program in place totally distinct from their EHR vendors’. Protected health information includes any demographic information that can be used to identify a patient, such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, insurance information, and health care records.

It’s absolutely essential for health care providers to implement a HIPAA compliance program alongside their EHR program in order to fully protect their patients’ sensitive health care data.

With cyber-security threats mounting on a daily basis, it’s more important than ever before to ensure that your behavioral health practice has the proper safeguards in place surrounding EHR and HIPAA compliance. Adopting an EHR and HIPAA compliance program in your practice differentiates your business from the competition and gives you everything you need to satisfy the law.

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