Work environments have changed considerably in recent years, even before pandemic circumstances entered the picture. Today, doctors and nurses working remotely have become a common scenario, with healthcare professionals covering patients in multiple locations to offer the best care possible while also handling extreme caseloads and staying HIPAA compliant. Working remotely for doctors and nurses presents many challenges:
- Access to critical information and documents quickly and accurately
- Collaboration with other resources in different locations – even across the country
- Securing personally identifiable information (PII), electronic Personal Health Information (ePHI), and other confidential records to maintain HIPAA compliance
Combining accessibility with security and compliance issues while delivering excellence in patient care is difficult enough. Working remotely certainly adds to the complexity of meeting these demands.
Accessing Information for Remote Healthcare Teams
Other than direct patient contact, healthcare records are the most important information available to help doctors and nurses evaluate patients, diagnose symptoms, and prescribe treatments. Critical documents include:
- Admissions information
- Patient history – past illnesses and treatments
- Family history
- Medications taken – both current and past, including any allergies
- Tests performed and results – EKG, MRI, X-rays, CT Scans, etc.
Working remotely, traditional methods primarily consisted of sharing information by either reading information to other providers or faxing documents. Each method presents the potential for error, extends the time before treatment, and adds the possibility for losing information or exposing confidential data.
How Technology Changes the Landscape
Today’s remote work environment has altered the way doctors and nurses can work efficiently from home or multiple healthcare facilities.
Modern multifunction printers (MFPs) enable workers to scan documents directly to a digital format that can be copied, printed, or sent directly to remote providers for secure review without delays experienced with traditional fax technology. MFPs from Konica Minolta provide healthcare professionals with features that boost productivity while also ensuring HIPAA compliance and increasing security features:
- Bizhub SECURE Alert notifies administrators when there has been unauthorized use of the MFP
- MFP administrators can receive automatic breach notification emails
- Activity archive with search capability provides detailed information for who used the MFP, what they did, and when
These notifications and audit capabilities help healthcare institutions maintain and ensure HIPAA compliance and track MFP usage including scans, copies, printing, and faxes.
Document management offers all businesses advantages for both on-premise and remote workers. For doctors and nurses, the benefits can be considerable for internal teams using traditional workstations, as well as those who must participate in patient care from other locations. Even when using apps that are HIPAA compliant, working with documents prepared by these secure applications must provide the same level of security. Apps may include controls for who has access to ePHI information, but when documents are printed or scanned to other staff members, the need for security falls on how and where they are prepared. This is where document management systems take over and integrate with MFPs to control access and exposure of private information:
- Storing newly created documents in digital, encrypted form to minimize exposure.
- Routing scanned forms from the MFP to the appropriate party or distribution list specified, ensuring that no unauthorized individuals have access to the information.
- Establishing strict controls for what individuals or work teams may view, edit, print, delete or forward privileged information.
- Whether a doctor or nurse is locally available, at home, or working at any remote location, the information is available at electronic speed, delivered securely to any device including a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. This allows prompt feedback and collaboration on patient care.
Security Concerns and HIPAA Compliant Solutions
HIPAA and other regulations outline controls, roles, and requirements for safeguarding and controlling access to ePHI content:
- Establishment of policies and procedures for handling confidential information
- Audit logs to report any changes to HIPAA-compliant data storage or applications
- Accountability – personnel responsible for compliance and maintaining security
- Training – the assurance that all local and remote healthcare teams are fully aware of proper handling, preservation, and distribution of ePHI
Implementing a HIPAA compliant application for document management can provide all these features, and much more. Document management combined with full-featured multifunction printers can benefit healthcare organizations in many ways:
- Reduce the number of devices needed by installing MFPs that print, scan, copy, and fax – securely
- Integrate MFPs and document management to boost productivity with electronic distribution and storage of documents
- Reduce printing costs by storing and routing information to doctors and nurses working remotely, saving money on paper, ink and supplies, and maintenance
Meeting the Challenges of Healthcare Professionals Working Remotely
Mac Copy has the experience, software, and advanced hardware that help doctors and nurses collaborate effectively and provide superior patient care – even when working remotely:
- HIPAA compliant applications
- Secure document management and customizable workflow
- Multifunction printers from leading manufacturers such as Konica Minolta
Contact Mac Copy today to engage our consultants and put technology to work for your remote healthcare workers.