It seems everyone is signing up for social media and wants to use it in all the incredible ways it can be used, including for health care purposes. Social networking sites offer individuals new ways to relate to each other and share experiences.
The importance and viability of social media is known to everyone today – and everyone, including healthcare sector wants to sign up for them and use all the incredible opportunities, experiences and business options that it provides. With the advancement of internet, the pattern of communication has changed and thus new risks have inadvertently cropped up in healthcare services. True, patients and healthcare providers can communicate with each other using social media networks and can access, send and receive healthcare information online. However, communications using social networking sites has some inherent privacy and security risks that may put providers out of compliance.
New technologies present new challenges to health care providers, as there are simultaneously new requirements to share information with patients, and a new enforcement effort to ensure the privacy and security of Protected Health Information (PHI). Meeting both challenges requires careful consideration of all the regulations and technologies, as well as patient preferences and work flow. In order to integrate the use of social networking into patient communications, it is essential to perform the proper steps in an information security compliance process to evaluate and address the risks of using the technology. The process must include consideration of various patient access requirements in the HIPAA Privacy Rule. There are new requirements to provide patients electronic access of electronically held PHI which raise new questions of how that access will be provided and how the information will be protected during and after access. And there has long been a HIPAA requirement for covered entities to do their best to meet the requests of their patients for particular modes of communication, and using social networking is no exception.
The stakes are high – any improper exposure of PHI may result in an official breach that must be reported to the individual and to the US Department of Health and Human Services, at great cost and with the potential to bring fines and other enforcement actions if a violation of rules is involved. Likewise, complaints by a patient if they are not afforded the access they desire can bring about HHS inquiries and enforcement actions, so it is essential to find the right balance of access and control. 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 adopted the complete suite of policies and procedures needed for compliance, or hasn’t adequately considered the impact of social networking on your compliance. It is essential to consider social networking sites and how their use affects the privacy and security of PHI; not doing so is inviting enforcement action by HHS.
This audio conference by expert Jim Sheldon-dean will discuss the requirements, the risks, and the issues in using social networking for patient communications. Jim will review policies and procedures, documentation, major compliance areas and training to ensure they are updated to meet these new challenges. You will learn about how providers and patients want to use social media for communications and how they may cause privacy and security issues. Know how requirements under the Privacy Rule allow patients to choose their communication method, with new rules for electronic access of records held electronically. This session will also explain how to use an integrated information security management process to integrate new technologies into business processes safely and securely. Discover how your information security Risk Analysis must be updated to include social media, and how a lack of consideration for new technologies can lead to breaches and enforcement actions. Going further, you will learn about the importance of policies and procedures and documentation of their training and use in order to provide the proper privacy and security protections and preparation for the new random audit program, now getting under way. The session will also discuss the uses patients and providers have for social media and what must be considered for compliance, and provide a road map for how to use them safely and effectively, to increase the quality of health care and patient satisfaction, and avoid breaches and penalties.
Who should attend?
Compliance Manager, HIPAA Officer, Chief Information Officer, Health Information Manager, Medical Office Manager, Medical Practice Lawyer, CFO, CEO, COO. Privacy Officer, Information Security Officer.
- Jim Sheldon-Dean
Jim Sheldon-Dean is a healthcare compliance and HIPAA expert in the areas of privacy and security regulatory compliance and business process analysis. He is the founder and director of compliance services at Lewis Creek Systems, LLC, a Vermont-based consulting firm founded in 1982, providing information privacy and security regulatory compliance services to a wide variety of healthcare entities. Jim is a frequent speaker regarding HIPAA...
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