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When practices come to us for help transitioning off their software many ask “What are the best practices for switching EHRs?”

Categories: Articles

If you’re thinking about changing your software you’re not alone. According to the Medical Economics 2017 EHR Report Card, 62 percent of physician respondents indicated that they had already switched EHR systems at some point. High level physicians and admins almost always begin the transition process by asking “What are the best practices for switching EHRs?”

The marketplace has partially answered where to start with an EHR switch, practices are demanding more user-friendly EHRs that offer better interoperability. In other instances, practices are searching for specific functionality to help them thrive. Often, the need to switch EHRs is driven by frustration that your current software impedes rather than speeds your workflow.

Undertaking an EHR switch can feel daunting—after all, it’s a big investment. You may be wondering:

  • How do I identify the need for an EHR switch?
  • What steps should I take to find the right vendor for my practice?
  • How can I best prepare my practice to make this change?

To help you on your journey, the following are our best practices for switching to a new EHR.

Focus on your functional requirements

Consider your daily workflow. What types of capabilities does your practice need from an EHR? Of course, physicians want mobile capabilities, e-prescribing and integration with billing systems but it’s also important to look at the functional needs of your specific practice. List each functionality you want and create a scorecard to rate how well each vendor’s solution can meet your needs. Be sure to ask for input from people in a variety of roles at your practice.

Keep emerging needs in mind

Identify EHR software that helps you use data analytics to benefit both your patients and your practice. From population health management to merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) reporting that helps practices receive reimbursement for value-based care, your EHR’s capabilities should offer both the tools and the interfaces that allow you to leverage the power of data. Your practice will also want an EHR with strong internal reporting functionality that allows you to create custom queries and leverage your data in the real world.

Be sure you’re in a position to Promote Interoperability

When evaluating new EHR software, ask how the candidate system operates with regard to interfaces with labs and hospitals in your area, how well it handles referral management, and does it support the newer initiatives evolving for on demand data requests such as Commonwell, Carequality, and Surescripts National Record Locator and Exchange. This is important with regard to the CMS Promoting Interoperability, a component of MIPS, compliance guidelines. You can read more about how we help our practices with MACRA/MIPS here.

Seek a vendor with a proven track record of success

Identify potential EHR vendors by reviewing published ranking lists and awards from third parties such as KLAS Research. Insight from your peers is also valuable and can be attained by attending industry conferences, or talking to other physicians in your specialty.

Verify ease-of-use

An EHR that checks all the boxes on paper may not necessarily perform to your expectations in practice. When you demo the system, make sure it fits into YOUR workflow versus changing how you practice to accommodate the software. A great EHR is designed with the user in mind, helping you work the way you want to and reducing the time you spend on routine tasks.

Enlist a variety of power users to give the EHR a test drive

A system that works well for a physician may have shortcomings that only the administrative or billing staff can detect. Conversely, the same EHR that your office manager loves, may also be the EHR the physician loathes. After you’ve developed a shortlist of EHR products to test, gather people from different areas of your practice to test the EHR for issues. Be sure everyone is on board with the same EHR before making your final decision. Keep in mind that not everyone may get exactly what they want, a little give and take may be necessary in choosing the best solution overall for the organization.

Confirm the availability of responsive customer support

When you have questions concerning your EHR, you want answers as quickly as possible. Ask EHR vendors whether they have a U.S.-based support team available during regular office hours and, again, look at published lists and rankings that detail the vendor’s approach to support.

Don’t skimp on training

Proper training is essential for every EHR user. Not only can it help reduce the frustration of adapting to a new system, it can help users become proficient more quickly—lessening the impact on your practice and patients. The vendor you choose should offer robust training options to help you experience a smooth implementation. Although everyone who uses the system must attend training, it is also valuable to select a person or persons depending on the size of your practice to be a “super-user” who will cross train on clinical, billing, and admin capabilities.

Invest in long-term gain

Although switching your practice’s EHR system is a major undertaking, the gains achieved by increased interoperability, more easily sharing patient data and reducing administrative workload can reap long-term benefits. Find the EHR that’s the right fit for your practice and focus on the future. Also be sure to consider the experience of the potential vendors in assisting practices in making a change. The path to successful change can be bumpy, but experience and proven processes can avoid many of the potholes along the way.

Your next step is to add Aprima to your shortlist. Our track record of industry praise, long-term client retention (98% of practices have remained customers after 10 years!), and expertise in helping practices switch EHRs make Aprima an EHR you should know!

 

Tri-Med Solutions, Inc.

Bart Segal

770-579-0719
bsegal@trimedsolutions.net

 

20 Things We Should Never Say to a Graphic Designer – But We’re Often Asked to by Customers

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#2 of a 4 part series… part 1

Graphic designers can be hard to communicate with. That’s the reason we communicate with them on our customer’s behalf.

Having worked with designers for about 25 years, it helps that we know the right kind of questions that will move the project along and create a final product that everyone will be happy with. They expend time and energy to come up with ideas, concepts and designs to achieve their goals. Sometimes, our customers will ask us to ask our designers questions that bring the project to a crashing halt, with incorrect assumptions about the design process.

  1. Don’t say: “Can I make just one more change? I promise it’s the last one.”

We are fairly certain that there will probably be other changes after this one. After all, you’ve asked for multiple tweaks already. So let’s just be upfront about it and nicely, apologetically say something like: “I’m so sorry to keep taking up your time like this, but I found another change I’d like to make. Can you change this [word / font / graphic / color]? Feel free to add the extra time for these edits to your invoice.” Graphic designers are short on time just like you are, and although they do want to help you make sure the design fits your needs, they also appreciate the acknowledgement that their time is valuable. So next time, try compiling a list of all the changes you’d like to make and hand them over all at once, which is more efficient for everyone.

  1. Don’t say: Can you do something that looks exactly like [this other designer’s work]?”                                                                                                                    ­­­

Aside from copyright issues (and possible legal consequences), this should be a matter of ethics. No designer should be okay with copying another artist’s work outright, and you shouldn’t expect them to. Instead, try pointing out what you like about the design specifically, and ask your designer to do their own take on the style or try certain elements inspired by the work, like a color scheme, basic layout, or general aesthetic (clean, vintage, bold, etc.)

  1. Don’t say: “Can you use this image I found online?”

Turning to Google for images can backfire in a number of ways. For one, like the previous point, you could run into legal trouble for using a copyrighted image — one that’s not licensed for personal or commercial use. Additionally, it’s likely that the image won’t even look good in your design, or print cleanly, because the resolution is too low. If you’re looking for an alternative to paying for stock photos, there is an increasing number of sources where you can find quality, free stock photos.

  1. Don’t say: “Can you have this done by tomorrow?

Graphic design isn’t an instant process that is done with a few clicks of a mouse. Every project will have its own process and time requirements. Realistically, some designs can be whipped out in a day, while others will take much, much longer. It completely depends on the project (and the designer’s creative process). We usually let him or her know about any time constraints and ask for a realistic estimate on how long the design will take.

 

  1. Don’t say: “I know someone who works for half that. Could you lower your rate to match?”

Why? Designers set their prices based on multiple components: geography, cost of living, style, skill, experience, and many more. Every designer will have a different combination of strengths and abilities to offer, and there’s no special formula for determining if a designer’s rate is competitive or “fair.” Generally, though, we get what we pay for — so we encourage our clients and prospects to decide what characteristics are most valuable to in the design process (speed? quality? originality? cost? personality?). That’s not to say price negotiation is not an option, but if our first encounter with one of our designers on a particular project is an effort to “lowball” their rate —while expecting the same quality of work — that will be an immediate turnoff, and is disrespectful to the designer, and to us. As with most things…there is always someone who can do it cheaper.

 

Submitted by Sheila Fox-Lovell from Shandy Creative Solutions

sheila@shandycreative.com

770.951.0305

Retirement Through The Decades

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‘Retirement’ is defined, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, as the withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life. Depending upon your age bracket, the word retirement conjures up different meanings and different emotions. And the age in which one will retire differs just as much as the images of what one will do once they are no longer in the workforce. Retirement viewed through the decades:

During your 30s:

Individuals in their 30s have watched their parents save and because they are now years into their own careers are doing a reasonable job of saving. According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, seventy-six percent are saving for retirement and thirty percent who participate in their 401(k) or similar type plan are contributing more than 10 percent of their annual pay.

During your 40s:

This age bracket of individuals begins to feel the pressure of the looming word ‘retirement.’ Fortysomething individuals are often referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’ – they may be responsible for the care of aging parents while working and juggling their own families and kids. This busy lifestyle leaves many feeling like their life is a constant hamster wheel. Only 10 percent are very confident that they will be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle. Twenty-two percent state that paying off credit card debt is their greatest financial priority. Although this age cohort is often frazzled with what life is throwing at them, they are usually a focused group as eighty-two percent of those who are offered a 401(k) plan are participating.

During your 50s:

During your 50s many are well into their careers and beginning to realize they may live a lot longer. It is important at this stage of life to contribute as much as you can to your 401(k) and if possible, capitalize on the catch-up provisions which allow additional contributions to your employer-sponsored plans if you are over age 50. Now is the time to also pay down any debt you may have incurred over the years. Ideally, you want to enter your 60s debt free. For many families, by the time you reach your mid 50s, kids are leaving the house which may provide more disposable income. Close to 60 percent reported they plan to work past age 65 years old. This is most likely due to the fact that only 45 percent believe they are building a large enough retirement nest egg.

During your 60s:

People are living well into their 80s and 90s. This generation of adults are forced to think about the looming question – “What will retirement look like financially, socially, emotionally and physically?” Forty-seven percent of sixty-somethings expect Social Security to be their primary source of income when they retire. And a little over half of this age cohort (52 percent) plan to continue working after they retire with their top two reasons being income and health benefits.

Building a retirement income strategy is one of the most productive actions you can take to feel more confident with your financial future. The mindset you have and the strategies you engage regarding your current finances change as you move through each decade of your life. During your 30s, retirement may seem far off, however, it is the perfect time to begin making minor adjustments to your savings which can have a potentially major impact on your confidence level during your later decades.

*Statistics cited in the blog are based upon a Retirement Throughout the Ages: Expectations and Preparations of American Workers May 2015 survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®.

Joel Johnson Contributor

I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and the managing partner at Johnson Brunetti, a Retirement and Investment firm that specializes in working with retirees…

Article submitted by Joshua C. Harper, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RICP®

Millenial Nurses: A Dynamic Influence on the Profession

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Like generations before them, Millennials (ages 19-36) are making their own unique and indelible mark on our society. Coming of age with the internet, social media, mobile communication, and changing societal dynamics, Millennials seem to hold very different expectations from previous generations – and they assume that their contributions will be different, too. These characteristics may be magnified in the nursing workforce, because this helping and caring profession always demands an extraordinary level of individual commitment. Millennial nurses are bringing a dynamic new perspective on such factors as career, leadership, education, and work environment.

These viewpoints are reflected in the data from the AMN Healthcare 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses. This report, Survey of Millennial Nurses: A Dynamic Influence on the Profession, extracts and examines responses from Millennial nurses contained in the 2017 RN Survey and compares them with responses from Generation X or Gen X (ages 37-53) and Baby Boomer nurses (ages 54-71). The results paint a portrait of a generation that rewrites the rules on nurse work environment expectations.

Millennials are often looking to better themselves through education or job changes, and they are more trusting of leadership than are older nurses. They also have distinct expectations about what constitutes a good working environment and how that can positively affect patient care. Among these expectations are professional development opportunities, transparent quality measures, a positive culture, and earnestly supportive leadership.

As the healthcare industry continues to face unprecedented shortages of qualified nurses, the insights from this report could prove valuable to healthcare leaders. By better understanding the viewpoints and desires of Millennial nurses regarding their profession, healthcare organizations can be better prepared to attract and retain nurses from the generational segment that is taking over the nursing workforce.

KEY FINDINGS

CAREER PLANS

  • Will look for new nurse job: 17% Millennials, 15% Gen Xers, 10% Baby Boomers
  • Become Advanced Practice RN: 49% Millennials, 35% Gen Xers, 12% Baby Boomers
  • Work as travel nurse: 10% Millennials, 6% Gen Xers, 5% Baby Boomers
  • Seek leadership role: 36% Millennials, 27% Gen Xers, 10% Baby Boomers
  • Pursue higher degree: 71% Millennials, 56% Gen Xers, 20% Baby Boomers

The Avery Difference

At Avery Partners, we are different in that we take all the risk. We meet each of our candidates face to face for the interview to make sure they are the best fit for the job. These candidates are also OUR employees. We manage all their paperwork, applications, check references, federal verification and tax forms, background checks, drug screenings, pay-records, taxes, etc. This takes the hassle off your company and staff so that you can do what you do best.

Please contact Jennifer Hall for more information at the office (770) 642-6100 x237 or email Jennifer.Hall@AveryPartners.com

Where is the Growth of Mobile Payments?

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With all the talk around smartphones, smart watches, and increasing technology choices, will the traditional plastic card be a thing of the past?  Not so fast.  While the chatter is all about millennials and their love of the next tech toy, their use of credit cards is still lower than other age groups.

The financial crisis starting late 2007 led to stricter requirements from banks and lending institutions and also touched the credit card industry.  Credit card offers were focused on those with the best credit. Restrictions were placed on how credit card offers could market on college campuses. Credit card applications required proof of income or cosigner. All this led to less access of younger Americans to credit cards.

Jump ahead to 2019 and the industry finds the millennials to be choosier when picking a credit card.  They research their options and consider not only interest rates and annual fees but put a higher focus on rewards, perks, and unique experiences. Millennials are likely to have fewer cards than other generations.

Availability and Experience

Proximity mobile payments—tap and pay—haven’t quite taken off the way that payment platforms hoped they would. One significant factor is that not all retailers have adopted the technology.  Generally, coffee shops and fast food establishments have matched their payment options with the latest technology to just tap and pay.  Other retailers have not been as quick to change.  Thus, going out without your physical credit card limits where you can shop.

Another factor is the number of players in the game. Consumers have a variety of payment options to choose from like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, as well as retailer specific payment options such as Walmart and Starbucks. Without a compelling reason to use one versus another, the consumer tends to use what comes on their phone. The variety has led to an inconsistent checkout experience.

More to Come

The growth may be slow, but the technology is not going away.  Both Visa and MasterCard continue to roll out contactless chip cards.  Smartphones continue to get more and more sophisticated. As retailers replace older equipment, the marketplace will steadily have more opportunities to continue the growth of the mobile payments acceptance.

 

Jennifer Autian is the founder of TCA Business Solutions and an independent representative of merchant services.  To learn more about contactless payments or explore other payment processing options, connect with her at 678-523-8760 or by email at Jennifer@tcabiz.com.

Surveys: Physician Salaries Are Increasing, Burnout Persists

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By:  Shawn Martin, AAFP Senior Vice President of Advocacy, Practice Advancement and Policy.

Spring has arrived, and with it comes longer days and, of course, baseball! Your 2019 world champion Washington Nationals(www.mlb.com) are off to a rough start, but there is a lot of baseball left to play. I remain optimistic that I will get an opportunity to watch World Series games in Washington, D.C., come October. (I can dream, I can dream.)

Last week, Medscape published its 2019 Physician Compensation Report.(www.staging.medscape.com) This annual report provides a snapshot of various aspects of the practice of medicine that are common to all specialties, according to physicians themselves.

The practice of medicine, across all specialties, remains predominantly aligned with the insurance industry. In fact, 81% of physicians reported a relationship with at least one insurance company. We know from AAFP member surveys that more than 60% of family physicians have contracts with seven or more insurance companies.

Only 6% of physicians from all specialties reported being in a cash-only practice, with no relationships with commercial insurance companies. For family medicine, AAFP data show that about 3.5% of family physicians practice in a direct primary care practice model, but a small subset of this group also accepts insurance.

Seventy-one percent of physicians from all specialties reported they participate in Medicare and/or Medicaid and plan to continue doing so in the coming year. With respect to Medicare, 42% of primary care physicians surveyed are participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, and 12% are participating in an alternative payment model.

There are some interesting findings in the report and certainly some findings that are encouraging, but there are also a few items that are startling and should prompt some alarm bells to go off — now.

Let’s lead with the encouraging findings:

  • Average salaries for primary care physicians have reached $237,000, according to the report. That’s a 21.5% increase since Medscape’s 2015 report.
  • Looking at all specialties, self-employed physicians earn, on average, more than employed physicians — $359,000 to $289,000. Self-employed physicians also are older; 64% of them are older than 50 compared with only 46% of employed physicians.
  • Fifty-three percent of family physicians reported feeling fairly compensated. This percentage was higher than I anticipated, but it reflects the intrinsic motivation of patient care common among many family physicians. (Hint: You are undercompensated, and we’re working to fix that.)
  • Seventy-four percent of family physicians indicated they would choose medicine as a career again, and 68% indicated that they would choose family medicine again.
  • When asked why they continue to practice medicine, 29% of physicians surveyed said they were motivated by their relationships with their patients, and 22% reported knowing that they were “making the world a better place.”

Shot

It is difficult to surprise me, but the statistics associated with administrative and regulatory compliance in the Medscape report were startling. According to the survey, 74% of physicians spend 10 or more hours per week on paperwork, and 36% report spending 20 or more hours per week.

This is crazy. Consider this: In 2012, 53% of physicians reported they spent one to four hours per week on paperwork. These two data points suggest at least a 150% increase in paperwork over a six-year period. It goes without saying that physician compensation hasn’t increased at a similar pace.

Not surprisingly, 26% of physicians reported that compliance with rules and regulations was the most challenging part of their job. Fifteen percent reported that their electronic health record was the most challenging part, and 13% said getting fair compensation was the biggest challenge.

No wonder physicians continue to report symptoms of burnout and professional moral injury at an alarming rate. According to the 2019 Medscape National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report,(www.medscape.com) 44% of all physicians reported that they are burned out. If we look exclusively at family medicine, 48% of physicians reported they are burned out.

Here are what physicians (all specialties) reported to Medscape as the factors driving their professional dissatisfaction:

  • 59% say too many bureaucratic tasks;
  • 34% say too many hours at work;
  • 32% say increasing computerization of practice;
  • 30% say a lack of respect from administrators, employers, colleagues or staff; and
  • 29% say insufficient compensation.

Chaser

According to the 2019 Medscape compensation report, the gender pay gap among primary care physicians (checks notes) … increased? The average salary for male primary care physicians was $258,000, but for female primary care physicians it was $207,000 — an astonishing 25% delta. Making this even worse is the fact that the delta was 18% in 2018 and 16% in 2016. The gender pay gap in primary care is increasing, not decreasing.

Adding salt to an open wound, the Medscape data point to the fact that 50% of female physicians across all specialties report they are burned out, compared with 39% of male physicians.

Hangover

I will admit that after reviewing the data, I anticipated that the average respondent would be older and in the latter stages of their career. You know, the “old man yells at cloud”(www.abc.net.au) bias. My bias was wrong: 61% of compensation survey respondents and 55% of burnout survey respondents were between the ages of 28 and 54.

In other words, these statistics reflect information provided by the current physician workforce and, more importantly, the physician workforce our country will rely on for the next 15 to 20 years. Again, alarm bells should be ringing.

The Remedy

My colleague, Clif Knight, M.D., AAFP senior vice president for education, summarizes the situation extremely well: “Burnout is the problem. The system is the cause. We are the answer.”

Let’s address the cause first. Clearly, increased and appropriate payment or compensation for service provided by family physicians remains a top priority for the AAFP. I have written extensively about the Academy’s work on payment issues — for instance, here and here.

The AAFP also has prioritized the reduction of administrative burden, and we are aggressively pursuing solutions to reduce the day-to-day burden for family physicians and the system drivers of burden. The AAFP’s Principles for Administrative Simplification document lays out four priority areas to focus efforts aimed at cutting administrative burden:

  • prior authorization,
  • quality measures and the need for measure harmonization,
  • certification and documentation, and
  • medical record documentation

Now, let’s address the problem — burnout. In 2017, the AAFP published a position paper titled “Family Physician Burnout, Well-Being, and Professional Satisfaction.” At the same time, the AAFP began investing heavily in developing resources and programs aimed at helping family physicians learn about burnout and create a plan to improve physician well-being for themselves or their colleagues. The anchor of our efforts is the Physician Health First portal. This collection of resources is a good starting point for all family physicians. If you are interested in a more dynamic and social experience, please join us at the Family Physician Health and Well-Being Conference June 5-8 in Phoenix.

Posted at 09:09AM Apr 16, 2019 by Shawn Martin

 

Article provided by Stephen Bradley

When Marijuana is Legalized in Georgia, how will That Impact the Workplace?

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It’s only a matter of time. Although Georgia law continues to prohibit the use, sale, possession, growth or distribution of marijuana as of March 2019, it is only a matter of time before it becomes legalized in the state of Georgia.  As with the end of alcohol prohibition in 1933, statewide temperance laws were continued after the 18th amendment repeal in some states and Mississippi remained “dry” until 1966: it just depends on the state and how conservative its laws are. But as we get closer to legalization, will the use of marijuana still be prohibited at work, and especially outside of working hours?

In recent news, an issue regarding not hiring people who want to be become Atlanta police officers who have used marijuana in the past and could not be hired because of this is up for debate. Rules are being considered for change to hire those who have used marijuana in the past, but once hired, are subjected to zero tolerance, on and off the job. This is, rightfully so, causing problems for those who have been turned down in the past due to marijuana use at any time in their lives. The same rule applies to many employers, in the private and public sectors, so it’s probably going to get dicey before the smoke finally clears.

It’s no longer a matter of if … it’s a matter of when. The big question is how legalization of marijuana will affect the workplace. For many employers, implementing new-hire drug testing serves to help save money by offering large discounts on Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums.  But in some rural areas or specialized fields it is sometimes difficult to find qualified workers who can pass a drug test.; this is where a well-written employee handbook put together by your HR department or Human Resource company is worth its weight in gold.

But what about an employee who has been prescribed medicinal marijuana or THC oil by a qualified doctor? In general, Georgia employers may have and maintain a zero-tolerance policy on the use of marijuana in any form. As of now, Georgia courts have not ruled on whether or not such a ban discriminates against disabled employees who have been prescribed the use of marijuana by a doctor. Other states have ruled, some for the employee, some for the employer. For now, it appears that, until a court rules otherwise, not hiring a THC user or terminating one is permissible. Having a clear and unambiguous statement in the employee handbook is a good idea.

It all comes down to employers keeping the workplace safe, keeping employees happy, and working within the law. Common sense also plays a big part in all of this. Alcohol, although not illegal, is not permitted for use during work hours. Just as an employer will not tolerate an employee coming to work snockered, they will not tolerate an employee coming to work stoned. All of this should be clearly and completely covered in your employee handbook. Legalization of marijuana does not mean it would be legal to partake during work hours, just as alcohol is not permitted, unless otherwise stated in your employee handbook.

Zero tolerance is the language used in most employee handbooks, and those two words make it crystal clear about your company’s stance on drugs and alcohol. If you have not addressed this issue in your handbook or if you need to update it with the pending legalization of marijuana, a good Human Resource company like Stellaris Group in Marietta, Georgia can sit down with you and draft an unambiguous book of company policies that leave no question about where your company stands regarding drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

Dawn Stastny, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the Managing Partner and Founder of Stellaris Group, LLC. To learn more about Human Resources Outsourcing and Consulting, connect with her at 678-935-6001 or by email at Dawn.Stastny@Stellaris.Co

Fax Service+ HIPAA Compliance

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Despite its dated roots, and the myriad complaints, fax machines can be HIPAA-compliant as long as appropriate security safeguards are followed. In short, HIPAA regulations do not prevent covered entities (health providers, plans and clearinghouses that transmit health information electronically) from faxing.

It’s the covered entity’s responsibility to ensure their fax practices comply with HIPAA privacy rules. These include the “minimum necessary” rule, which limits information in the fax to the minimum amount necessary in certain instances, as well as the implementation of administrative, technical, and physical security policies to protect PHI.[1]

Unfortunately, these rules are not always followed. Academic physician Sachin H. Jain, M.D. commented that most fax machines sit open and accessible to a wide range of individuals in most healthcare settings–suspending any expectation of privacy and security.[2]

For obvious reasons, fax machines must be located in secure, non-public areas to prevent unauthorized personnel from viewing faxes. Office staff should always verify the recipient’s fax number and use a cover sheet that does not include patient information.

Most Common Fax Related Violations

Sending a fax to the wrong number is one of the most common errors, as evidenced by a number of reported breaches. Last year, Oakland, Calif.-based West Coast Children’s Clinic had to notify patients of a HIPAA breach after it faxed a patient’s PHI to an incorrect fax number. The data included the patient’s name, date of birth, developmental and psychological treatment history, family history, educational history, testing results and prescribed treatment.

What are the lessons to be learned? Make sure security safeguards are in place when using the fax machine to transmit PHI, and confirm your staff is properly trained to whenever handling and transmitting patient information.

Internet fax replaces paper with digital transmissions and emerged as a popular alternative to the traditional fax. Internet fax is typically provided as a hosted service, whereby health providers can subscribe to a third-party entity that converts emails and other content to faxes.

Typically no human interaction occurs, thereby eliminating human error. This change in workflow reduces risk and offers added convenience and efficiency over traditional fax machines. For healthcare providers that aren’t ready to eliminate fax altogether, moving to secure Internet fax can be a valuable step toward mitigating the inefficiencies and security risks posed by traditional fax machines.

 

Article submitted by Paul Mancini, National Sales with Clear Choice Telephones.

Questions? Contact Paul at 678-387-3200 or paul@clearchoiceinc.com

 

Paul Mancini

678-387-3200 desk

678-464-4701 cell

What’s Your Peace-Of-Mind Worth?

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You’ve been responsible for the office operations for years. But lately, in the age of technology, it seems that things have gotten more complicated and more stressful, rather than simpler.

The administrative, human resource and regulatory compliance related tasks of your business are increasing, and you end each day knowing that there’s much more left to do.

A client data breach, and the business reputation fall-out that follows, is the last thing your business needs right now.

Did you know that a data breach is most often caused by human error; either by an employee or by a vendor that services your office?

Yet, many businesses of all sizes still don’t have information destruction policies or procedures. Some still use office shredders to save on operating expense. Relying on your staff to shred what they think is important is both risky and expensive; when you consider the labor involved. And there’s no record that it was destroyed, in case you may need that later.

In the long-term, outsourcing your information destruction needs to a professional On-Site shredding service, better protects your business and saves you money. It’s low cost reputation insurance that gives you Peace-of-Mind.

Make sure you select a shredding service that does more than just shred or recycle your office paper and provide a receipt. A trustworthy shredding company should be able to:

  • Offer On-Site shredding service, as it reduces your risk by shortening the chain-of-custody that your information passes through prior to destruction. It’s destroyed before they leave.
  • Provide a Certificate of Destruction after each service call and keep them on file permanently, should you ever need copies in the
  • Offer shredding of digital devices (hard- drives, cell phones, tablets, flash drives, CDs, etc.) which often contain much more information than your documents
  • Demonstrate their operating and hiring practices are externally audited and certified by NAID (National Association of Information Destruction) and ISO (International Standards Organization)
  • Regularly train their employees (and yours, if necessary) on secure handling and destruction procedures
  • Maintain an excellent customer satisfaction reputation; verifiable with independent unsolicited reviews on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.
  • Document the recycling of your shredded paper and metal through vendors that specialize in industrial re- use of recycled
  • Share evolving Information Security best practices with you and help you implement information destruction policies and procedures for your business.

For more information, contact Greg Gálvez at greg.galvez@proshred.com or 678-580-1155

Human Error in Cyber Security: 5 Mistakes to Watch Out For

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Human Error in Cyber Security: 5 Mistakes to Watch Out For

Accidents happen. Mistakes occur. Human error is just a part of, well, being human. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t go the extra mile to ensure that you minimize the likelihood of a human error, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. When a data hack or other security attack happens, the root cause is often an avoidable accident.

While you should take steps to try and eliminate these human errors from your operations, you should also make sure you have a thorough, well organized, and secure IT support system in place to combat any would-be hackers and data thieves. At Medicus IT, we offer the following cybersecurity services: managed cybersecurity, phishing/security awareness solutions, vulnerability scanning, and encryption and management. Learn more about these services here to see how we can help keep your organization secure.

To help ensure that your operations are hacker-proof, look out for these human errors in cybersecurity.

Poor Passwords

Yes, your password should be easy to remember. No, it should not be simple enough that others can guess it. And yes, it should be difficult enough where it would take hackers a long time to figure out (check out this helpful tool to see how long it would take someone to figure out your password).

A poor password is one of the easiest mistakes someone can make when it comes to cybersecurity. We are all capable of remembering passwords that are too tricky to guess or hack. However, we tend to stick with easy, simple to remember passwords for our own convenience. Don’t do this. Choose a password that contains letters, numbers, special characters and is at least ten characters long. Avoid writing down your password as well. But if you absolutely must, then keep it hidden somewhere safe and once your memorize your password, throw it out.

Misdelivery

Misdelivery is a common mistake that has more to do with being careless more than anything else. Whenever you are sending an email, always double, triple, and quadruple check to make sure that you are sending the information to the right person. Even if you aren’t sending any confidential information, get in the habit of always checking. This type of human error is more common than you might think. According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Report, misdelivery was the fourth most frequent action that caused data breaches.

Falling for Phishing Scams

That same Verizon report also found that email was the most common medium in which cybersecurity attacks originated from, with 96% of all attacks sourced from email. Everyone in your practice should be familiar with phishing emails, where someone will pretend to be an outside, trustworthy entity (like a bank) for example and try and get passwords or other sensitive information.

The key to avoiding phishing scams taking place in your office is to instill a culture that is aware of the dangers of being careless with emails. One of the most effective ways to do this is to incorporate phishing/security awareness solutions into your operations regularly. At Medicus IT, we work with clients to run phishing scam simulations that can determine how many employees fell for our faux scam and who exactly clicked on the email. Therefore, you can understand the scope of the problem and which employees need the training to determine how to spot scams. We also offer secure email solutions and SPAM filtering products to further protect your practice.

Inadequate Software Security

While you could argue that failure on your software security’s end to stop a hacker is not human error, we would argue the opposite. Deciding not to go with top-notch, high-quality, and highly-rated security software is, in fact, a human error. Sure, you could try and save money by going with a cheaper option. But the smarter and safer option is to pay for the security that you know will get the job done.

Don’t settle for anything less. Trust in Medicus IT to make sure that your information and data is in safe hands.

Low Security Awareness

There are other ways in which your information can become at risk due to negligence or lack of awareness of potential security threats. This can include leaving company laptops out in the open where they can easily be stolen, plugging in un-secure devices like USB drives that potential hackers planted, and downloading unsafe software online.

Take the time to educate all your employees on best practices for making sure that they don’t fall prey to a security scam or other threats.

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