Is Your Records Management System Compliant With the ACA?

The Affordable Care Act is now live and with it has come some interesting changes to the healthcare industry. While we can now obtain health insurance easier, healthcare companies face new threats from data breaches and other potential risks that can derail their business. The required switch from paper to electronic health records poses additional challenges, making a comprehensive and secure records management system more important than ever before.

The Risks
Many healthcare providers still have paper records in their offices that need to be converted into electronic medical records. The deadline for this transition is January 1, 2014, which means a lot of healthcare offices will be scrambling to meet the requirement. As a result, many local healthcare companies may have to hire outside contractors to help bring their offices up to standard.

A significant amount of risk comes with hiring some of these contracted firms. If providers don’t take the proper care to work with a reputable records management company, they make themselves vulnerable to data breaches-not to mention systems that don’t adequately meet their needs. Healthcare providers must also choose a records manager that understands the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and all other industry regulations. After all, noncompliance can put patient data at risk, cause legal problems, and result in costly fines.

HIPAA Compliance
The Affordable Care Act expands on provisions in HIPAA, making it even more important for healthcare providers to only work with a records management company that is 100 percent HIPAA compliant. That means it should have technical, physical, and administrative safeguards in place when handling patient records and sensitive information. They should also stay up-to-date on HIPAA changes to ensure ongoing compliance. record keeping

Offsite Storage
Paper records that have been digitized still need to be stored until they can be legally destroyed. Local healthcare providers should use a secure offsite storage facility through a professional records management company that meets state, local, and federal guidelines. A facility should have state-of-the-art security and fire protection systems, and its staff should be trained and have passed thorough background checks.

Active File Management
Active file management allows healthcare providers to easily access files that are stored offsite. Although only some records management companies offer this service, active file management makes accessing records faster and more efficient any time of day or night. Healthcare providers also free up in-house space for future expansion. An active file management system reduces the liabilities associated with storing paper records onsite and keeps providers compliant with Affordable Care Act requirements.