If you work in the healthcare industry or frequently do business with healthcare providers, you are probably acquainted with HIPAA, but you might not fully understand how it operates. However, it is vital that you take your time to research and comprehend everything that HIPAA compliance requires before you begin. This will help you learn and comprehend every significant component of HIPAA compliant eFax services.
What are HIPAA-compliant eFax services?
HIPAA-compliant efax services are a great substitute for normal fax machines that organisations are upgrading from. eFax sends faxes over the web using web services rather than a traditional phone line and fax machine.
Are eFax Services reliable?
Yes, the majority of eFax service providers, including iFax, ensure end-to-end encryption and are HIPAA compliant. Your emails will be secure during storage and delivery in this manner. It is the best way to send and receive faxes, thanks to eFax’s superior security features and added security.
Is eFaxing better than email?
Which is preferable, fax or email? Right, that seems like a simple question. That was back then, I suppose. Things have changed since then. Data security and privacy are important issues. However, you really should take into consideration other important factors like efficacy and speed.
Faxing has long been the preferred technique for sending papers before email became the primary form of correspondence. Fax machines were commonplace in practically all offices back then. They were regarded as essential, particularly in commercial and legal operations.
The faxing procedure has been streamlined in the current day. There seem to be web and smartphone applications for online fax services. As long as you have a device with Internet access, you can now send and receive faxes! Simply put, faxing has improved throughout the years! However, it is still very popular to share crucial papers like contracts, receipts, and even x-rays.
Other factors that make eFax superior to emails include;
- a rapid method for physical copies
- reputable and legal
- Real-time transmission reports and delivery receipts
- decreased likelihood of communications being banned (or rejected)
What exactly is a HIPAA infringement?
A violation of HIPAA is committed when too much information is transmitted in a fax; only the bare minimum is required. Other things that are violations include:
revealing PHI without authorization
- obtaining PHI without permission
- not getting rid of PHI when it’s no longer needed
- not managing risk and not performing a risk assessment
- Not putting measures in place to protect PHI
- not keeping track of PHI access
- denying patients’ requests for copies of their PHI
- absence of access controls
- Without a HIPAA-compliant contract before sharing PHI with vendors
- delaying the patient notification of a breach
How can a healthcare facility stay on top of whether a breach has occurred when there are so many different types of infractions that can happen? Internal audits are the most typical method that HIPAA compliance infractions are discovered. However, healthcare personnel who have broken the law frequently self-report to lessen the severity of the offense. In addition, a compliance team that routinely scans for potential infractions may also be present in some firms.
The outcome of not complying with HIPAA?
The financial penalties are severe whether a HIPAA compliance breach is intentional or not.
State attorneys have the authority to impose fines of up to $25,000 for each type of offense during a given year. However, the Office of Civil Rights has the authority to impose fines of up to $1.5 million for each category of violation and each year of violation. As a result, million-dollar fines have already been assessed in some cases.
Comparing HIPAA Faxing to Traditional Fax Machines
For fax machines to be accepted as sufficiently secure for sensitive patient information, several challenges must be solved. Only because of the current interoperability problems with eHealth systems should businesses rely on unreliable fax machines.
Because implementing newer solutions requires some time, it’s crucial to guarantee that PHI is secure while fax machines are still in use. In addition, all employees should properly understand the HIPAA faxing regulations and procedures that come with using conventional fax servers.
Adopting HIPAA-compliant fax machines and safe faxing techniques in a conventional setting can help prevent privacy violations.
What Fax Services Are HIPAA Compliant
A dependable and HIPAA-compliant platform is what iFax provides, making it a dependable option for secure healthcare faxing.
The iFax service uses encrypted 256-bit cloud storage and secure transmission to store faxes digitally. Additionally, iFax’s enterprise-grade cloud faxing technology is fully capable of high-volume faxing. Its military-grade security safeguards the patient records and other documents delivered via electronic fax.
In addition to having strong security, iFax is also simple to use due to its cross-platform capability. That means that regardless of the platform you’re using, your files are easily accessible. For many healthcare and medical practitioners, iFax is the best option.
Only accessible in the U.S. and Canada, Faxage provides services via its website, personal email, mobile app, API faxing, and other channels. There are various options, and an existing fax number may be retained. Due to its BAA and disclosure of its stringent cybersecurity procedures on its website, Faxage complies with HIPAA regulations.
SRFax offers services via email and its website. There are numerous plans offered, including HIPAA-compliant choices. SRFax is HIPAA compliant because of its strict cybersecurity procedures and the fact that it offers a BAA.
Is eFax HIPAA-Compliant?
Only when delivered through an online fax service that has received HIPAA certification does an eFax become HIPAA-compliant. Some internet fax services are not HIPAA compliant. Determining whether the service is prepared to sign a BAA would be an excellent starting point. HIPAA Business Associate Agreement is referred to as a BAA. Following HIPAA compliance, it is an agreement between entities that guarantee PHI confidentiality.
It’s already a good sign if an online fax provider is prepared to sign a BAA on behalf of its clients. Additionally, the provider needs to be able to protect the PHI’s confidentiality. Therefore, having a system that is completely capable of encrypting sensitive data is required.
Tip on how to send HIPAA Compliant eFax
Never disclose your electronic fax activities to unauthorized parties
Never tell anyone else that you are sending a fax containing PHI save the parties directly involved. Keep the conversation as private as you can. Don’t speak or mention any of the document’s contents. Never leave a computer running when sending a fax online unsupervised. Once you’re finished, log out of your online fax account and dismiss the window.
Never leave your phone alone while using a mobile app to fax. After using an app, always close it. Your fax software should have a password added to stop unwanted use.
Always double-check the recipient’s fax number
Ensure you send the PHI-containing fax to the appropriate department or individual. It is still not guaranteed even if the fax is encrypted and has a HIPAA warning on the cover page.
By assuring the accuracy of the information, it would be simpler to prevent prospective risks than to manage damage management.
Always store a backup of your fax records using a secure HIPAA-compliant cloud storage service.
Your fax records should be backed up so that you have a safety net in case your account is inaccessible, or your data is lost. Make sure to use a safe, HIPAA-compliant cloud storage solution when keeping your backups there.
Choose an online fax service that’s HIPAA certified
Never use an internet fax provider that is not HIPAA approved to transmit a fax that contains private patient information. Always confirm that the service you are utilizing complies with HIPAA regulations. Additionally, you should confirm that it complies with the requirements for protecting patient information online.
Strategies for Managing HIPAA-Compliant Fax
It is not advisable to leave fax machines outside in a busy place
Establishing a dedicated line for any faxes containing PHI is best if you plan to utilize a physical fax machine that prints out a paper document. Employees must be instructed to understand the repercussions of providing permitted access to the location where the machine that receives incoming faxes is located.
Like receiving, sending faxes should be done from a safe, password-protected room. Alternatively, the outgoing document can always be watched over by having a designated sender wait by the fax machine until each transmission is finished. The public shouldn’t be permitted to examine faxes, nor should they be kept on desk checks where they can be seen from the log-in station.
Keep an audit log
The precise information delivered and received when it happened and by whom are all recorded in a thorough audit trail. You should have access to a thorough history of your received and sent faxes using a reliable HIPAA-compliant cloud fax provider. You must give those documents to the auditors in the event that you are subject to a HIPAA Audit, whether internal or prompted by a breach.
Cautiously maintaining HIPAA data and local devices
The majority of high-profile HIPAA breaches occurred as a result of PHI being saved on a local hard drive or mobile device when a user neglected to take the necessary security measures by destroying it. As a result, devices that contain PHI may unintentionally be exposed, leading to fines and penalties, if they are subsequently lifted, misplaced, or discarded without taking the necessary steps to erase the information they contain. In addition, PHI is stored on a local MFP device. Hence, some of the biggest fines were incurred.
Change to a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based faxing service.
Online or cloud-based faxing services, like iFax, gives you new features and capabilities that a traditional fax machine or the three-in-one machine simply cannot provide.
It’s also a less expensive choice because you won’t need a fax machine any longer. You no longer need to buy paper, ink, or toner, and you can spend less money on electricity.
You can save monthly money on your fixed phone bill using a cloud fax service because you can send and receive faxes online without a permanent phone line. In addition, you may easily send an email to fax confidential information using a cloud-based HIPAA-compliant faxing service directly from your phone or computer.
Every piece of data you send via online fax is further secured by the use of military-grade encryption technology by cloud faxing service providers. Even though there are many online fax service providers to pick from, make sure the one you choose complies with all applicable laws. Top secure fax services will be HIPAA compliant right out of the gate.
Nowadays, a large number of healthcare organizations and providers use contemporary data management systems. These days, centralized technologies make it simple for providers to access and transfer patient data. Unfortunately, this presents fresh problems that necessitate more sophisticated fixes.
Sending electronic fax complies with HIPAA and can help with one of these issues. In addition, it adopts a cutting-edge and effective method of faxing without sacrificing privacy. Because of this, internet faxing is the best option for secure document sharing, especially when it comes to HIPAA-required sensitive information.