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Is your phone system hipaa compliant?

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Hipaa phone

Private but clear communications and security for documented patient information is extremely important for all medical practices, particularly when it comes to HIPAA rules. HIPAA violations can result in fines that can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation (or per record), up to $1.5 million in strict penalties, criminal charges, and jail time. This alone might be the most important reason medical practices should use VoIP in their everyday business activities compared to businesses within other industries.

If you’re not familiar with it, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a type of phone technology that lets users make and take phone calls via an internet connection instead of the usual phone system. The sound is digitally changed before it travels through internet broadband. This provides functionality that a business otherwise wouldn’t get with a regular phone system.

Medical businesses should use HIPAA-compliant VoIP service for several reasons. For starters, VoIP can provide better phone security than standard analog phones do. VoIP uses standardized encryption protocols, which helps keep your phone calls – and ultimately, patient information – secure in the face of any cyberattacks.

DigiFone VoIP in particular can also encrypt emails, which not only keeps email communications secure, but it also allows voicemail messages to be sent via email without violating HIPAA rules.

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With encryption comes the need for authentication. VoIP can make it so that users will only have access to the information they absolutely need, and would be unauthorized to view any further PHI (protected health information) or ePHI (electronic protected health information). If authorized to communicate sensitive information at all, they would also be authorized to communicate with certain users only. Authentication would require unique user IDs for individuals.

VoIP also has the ability to provide both access control and audit control for users with access to PHI or ePHI. Users would be categorized for provision of further access of privileges such as passwords, data encryption (as mentioned earlier), and a secure network. All user activity would be recorded for potential future reference, though only predesignated users would have access to these records of user activity.

VoIP can also provide phone call clarity, which regular phone systems and even some competing VoIP systems don’t always have. Ordinary phones lines range from 300 Hz to 3400 Hz, where sound can lack clarity and make it difficult to understand whoever is on the other end. Even if you have a VoIP phone system, if it is using limited bandwidth or is operating on slower internet, the call quality can still decrease and cause issues such as phone static, mangled or delayed audio, or dropped calls. This means someone could misinterpret medical information on the phone, such as the name of a medication or the dosage amount, both of which could cause serious issues for the patient and the medical practice.

However, quality VoIP ranges from 50 Hz to 7 kHz, providing higher frequencies that makes it easier to distinguish sounds, making phone communications a lot clearer.

In addition to the benefits above, DigiFone VoIP can also assist doctors and other medical staff with streamlining their everyday operations, decreasing costs, improving patient care, and making virtual/online communications easier through the following ways:

mobile application

Lessening the workload for employees through mobile applications (for example, clinical and billing software) and system integrations (for instance, customer relationship management `{`CRM`}` and company resource planning).

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Reducing operational expenses greatly through use of internet-connected VoIP versus a public switched telephone network (PSTN) line, resulting in less expensive long-distance and/or international phone calls.

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Encouraging and supporting collaboration and interaction with features such as video conferencing, instant messaging, etc.

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Effectively managing and storing critical patient information as well as easy access to that information when necessary (e.g. patient or patient-related phone calls).

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Providing the ability for remote communication to patients and doctors.

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Letting medical practitioners collaborate with one another in real-time.

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Virtually linking medical practitioners and their staff at any location on Earth at any time, so long as Internet access is available.

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