In August 2013, it was determined that Affinity Health Plan — a New York-based managed care plan — owed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights $1.2 million for violating HIPAA as part of a patient data breach case, reported Healthcare IT News.
“An HHS Office for Civil Rights investigation indicated that Affinity impermissibly disclosed the protected health information of these affected individuals when it returned multiple photocopiers to leasing agents without erasing the data contained on the copier hard drives.”
HIPAA regulations are not to be taken lightly. It can cost businesses millions of dollars if the proper precautions are not taken when it comes to information sharing and organizational workflow.
There are those working outside the healthcare industry that need to equally protect sensitive patient information. Take, for instance, Summit Educational Resources, a private organization in New York that provides education and therapeutic services to those with developmental disabilities.
In 2011, Summit relied on desktop printers and MFPs scattered throughout the educational facilities for document management needs. Given the necessary inclusion of sensitive, health-related information in most student records, Summit needed to be in accordance with both Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations.
Working with the local Konica Minolta dealer, Summit purchased centralized MFPs with PageScope Enterprise Suite to control and manage printing. Most importantly – the new solution was designed to integrate with Summit’s existing security system (HID badge readers), requiring all print jobs to be released via user authentication.
As a result, student-specific documents that often include medical information are no longer printed and left sitting on a device for anyone to access.
When it comes to document workflow and protecting information to ensure compliance, users should look to document solution vendors for the answers. Not only can the vendor provide information on how solutions protect users and enable compliance, but they can also develop a solution that ensures users won’t be paying millions of dollars in noncompliance fees down the road.
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