Touchstone Compliance

Protected Health Information

Why Serious HIPAA Enforcement Is Inevitable

To borrow a phrase from Stephen Colbert, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) — the department in charge of HIPAA enforcement — got a “wag of the finger” a while back from the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. And that’s bound to have an impact on healthcare offices everywhere. A November …

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8 Simple Physical Safeguards for Protected Health Information

It’s happened in hundreds of offices. A thirsty staff member brings a beverage to a computer workstation. Sets in down within easy reach. Logs on to the computer and turns her attention to the screen. A few minutes later, she absently reaches for the drink. Accidentally knocks it over. Gasps as the cola from her …

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HIPAA & The Miley-Cyrus Approach to Data Disposal

Does a Miley Cyrus video with over 750 million views offer any insights into what HIPAA says about data disposal? Well, consider this: The massive wrecking ball Ms. Cyrus sits on in the video swings between cinder-block walls. And before the hit song is over, they’re reduced to rubble, destroyed beyond recognition. If it’s not …

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9 Safeguards for a HIPAA Compliant Fax

Before there was widespread access to email and the Internet, fax machines in healthcare practices were a common and accepted way to expeditiously share patient information with other providers. Convenient, affordable, easy to use, it’s no wonder fax machines are still whirring in a lot of offices. Maybe even yours. But with all the regulations …

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Cracking the Code of HHS Guidelines for Encryption of PHI

To encrypt or not to encrypt, that is the question. Or to put it another way: To convert readable data into gibberish that must be decoded to become readable again — or not to convert readable data into gibberish that must be decoded to become readable again, that is the question. The Health Insurance Portability …

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The Pluses of a Virtual Private Network for Exchanging PHI Remotely

Let me set a scene where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) would be “just what the doctor ordered.” You’re out of town at a conference of healthcare professionals in your specialty. Before you left home, a colleague asked you to consult on a paricular case. She said she would email you the patient’s test results …

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