Medical practices deal with highly sensitive patient information on a daily basis, and protecting that data is a central focus for healthcare businesses. Many practices focus on setting tight regulations around their software systems and in-office record keeping but may overlook an important part of the equation: their office printers. If you are interested in achieving HIPAA-certification for your printers in Fort Lauderdale, here is what you need to know.
What Is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and is a national standard for securing patient data. Anyone with access to patient information, whether inside a healthcare practice or as a subcontractor or business associate of a healthcare-related business, must adhere to HIPAA guidelines. These regulations require all parts of a business, including digital messaging, online recordkeeping, and office printers, to meet the criteria for sufficiently protecting patients’ health information. Printers play a larger role than some medical professionals may think, as evidenced by the $1.2 million judgment against Affinity Healthcare for failing to erase patient medical record from hard drives when they returned printers to a leasing company. Printers can be an area of vulnerability if not properly managed.
How Can Printers Meet HIPAA Guidelines?
HIPAA-compliant printers meet four important criteria. Printer installation must be in a secure location that is only accessible to authorized staff members, and documents cannot remain on the printer unprotected. All printer workstation must require an access code, and every employee must have a unique code through which his or her activity can be tracked. The workstations should automatically log off when not in use. Data that is stored on printer hard drives should be protected by SSL encryption. Before selling, recycling, or returning printer supplies, the hard drive must be removed or the data must be completely destroyed. The copier memory was must also be thoroughly deleted when it is no longer in use by the medical practice.