How to Have a HIPAA-Compliant Call Center
Any call centers that collect personal and private health data from clients need to be a HIPAA-compliant call center. What’s more—if you’re working with other partners or vendors that are managing, storing or otherwise have access to private health data, you’ll need to ensure they’re also HIPAA compliant. While compliance can feel overwhelming, it’s essential for call centers to understand—a HIPAA compliance violation can be an enormous setback, costing you time, money and resources as you resolve the violation, and likely costing you customers in the long run.
But in a time where technology—and compliance requirements—are changing regularly, how can you ensure that all of your customer communication processes are HIPAA compliant? We’ll break down the requirements for call centers and everything you need to know.
What Does It Mean to Be HIPAA-Compliant?
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a law passed by the federal government in 1996. This law sets guidelines for all companies and organizations that collect protected health information (PHI).
Most of the guidelines fall into one of two categories: privacy and security. These guidelines dictate how PHI should be recorded within the call center, as well as how it should be shared with providers or other vendors. These requirements are designed to help avoid data breaches and protect the privacy of customers, patients, and consumers.
Call centers that are HIPAA-compliant have implemented all HIPAA compliance requirements, such as:
- Encrypting data
- Protecting passwords
- Securely storing data
All staff members are familiar with HIPAA requirements and know how to properly handle and transfer PHI.
Benefits of Being HIPAA-Compliant
So why should you care about having call center HIPAA verification?
Above all else, HIPAA call centers are more trustworthy, reputable, and secure. Other vendors will be more likely to work with you if you’re HIPAA-compliant, and patients will be more comfortable offering sensitive information.
And although security is the biggest perk of HIPAA compliance, following these requirements offers other noteworthy benefits, too. Call centers that are HIPAA-compliant can also improve response times, increase efficiency, and increase customer or patient satisfaction. HIPAA compliance allows call centers to more easily send patient information to physicians, and boosts accountability among agents.
HIPAA Compliance Requirements
Understanding HIPAA requirements is essential for knowing which call center software, answering services and other tools will help your team stay compliant. After all, if you don’t know the compliance requirements, it will be difficult to understand which tools provide adequate security for collecting and storing health data. Three key factors to look for include software that offer data encryption, secure messaging and (if needed) HIPAA training for agents or users.
1. Data Encryption
Most servers do not offer the level of security required by HIPAA. In order to be compliant, your email server must encrypt all data, making it indecipherable to would-be hackers.
2. Appointment-Setting Protection
Even if your company doesn’t store medical records, patients may offer a lot of sensitive information regarding their health during a phone call. For this reason, all appointment-setting processes should be highly confidential.
3. Secure Text Messaging
Does your call center communicate with physicians and other providers via text message? If so, those texts need to be stored in a secure, cloud-based system, rather than on an individual’s mobile device. HIPAA regulations also dictate that those messages should be sent and received in real-time.
4. HIPAA Training for Agents
It’s essential to ensure that every call center agent and team member has a clear understanding of current HIPAA requirements. When agents are not properly trained on compliance requirements, data breaches become more likely. Ongoing training and compliance verification tests can help ensure agents know the requirements well and are adhering to them.
Outsource to a HIPAA-Compliant Call Center
Overwhelmed at the thought of meeting all HIPAA requirements? If so, keep in mind that one of the best ways to ensure compliance is by choosing to outsource to a HIPAA-compliant call center.
ROI CX Solutions is HIPAA HITRUST compliant, and offers the highest quality call center services. We’ll act as an extension of your own company, treating every patient as if they were our own. Gain peace of mind, save money, and spend more time growing your business. ROI CX Solutions is here to take care of your call center needs.