HIPAA Compliance and Medical Records

HIPAA’s Records Retention Requirements

Stage 2 Meaningful Use, HIPAA Compliance and EHRs

Stage 2 Meaningful Use elevates the standard on the conditions that must be satisfied to ensure HIPAA compliance and the security of medical records. To be eligible for Medicare and/or Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive payments, qualified healthcare companies should now meet a new array of requirements.

This article talks about the major changes to Stage 1 Meaningful Use and the new requirements created in Stage 2. It likewise recommends how using a secure texting platform with an EHR could help with HIPAA compliance and medical record protection, while satisfying the requirements of Stage 1 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use.

The Stage 1 Meaningful Use Major Changes

Three major changes to Stage 1 Meaningful Use and four new requirements must be satisfied by eligible healthcare establishments under Stage 2 Meaningful Use. The three major changes are:

  • Instead of documenting more precise demographics of 50% of patients, healthcare companies now should document more precise demographics of 80% of patients.
  • A timeline of 36 hours is now implemented for giving a patient medical information in digital form. In the past there was no time frame.
  • While Stage 1 Meaningful Use required secure storage of electronic health records, this secure storage now required for all electronic document sharing.

These modifications may all be satisfied using a secure texting solution. Medical specialists could log patient information on their mobile phones and tablets, print off a digital record of a medical file from an integrated  EHR, and can utilize secure texting to share files, photos and videos that contain ePHI.

The New Requirements Under Stage 2 Meaningful Use

The new requirements under Stage 2 Meaningful Use are closely related to HIPAA compliance and the security of medical records. Much like Stage 1, the requirements could be adapted with the incorporation of a secure texting option with an EHR:

  • Healthcare companies now must record patient health behavior digitally.
  • Photos – such as x-rays, wound pictures and scans – should be available from EHRs.
  • The passage of prescribed medicines should be supervised from doctor to administrator.
  • Prescription handoffs should be performed digitally.

Utilizing secure text messaging for HIPAA compliance and medical records security and recording patient behavior and including photos to an EHR is simple. Medical specialists could use their mobile device to write patient notes and transmit them to the EHR. Photos can likewise be sent straight into the EHR.


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The passage of medicines and prescription handoffs may likewise be supervised using a secure messaging system. This is the system via which all ePHI moves when it is routed through secure texting. The platform additionally generates audit reports to assist administrators in figuring out how processes could be enhanced.

Attaining HIPAA Compliance and Medical Records Security By Using Secure Texting

Secure texting aids healthcare establishments sustain HIPAA compliance and medical records security, update patient information in real time, and safely share files and photos – especially crucial when a patient connected to a different healthcare company is getting treatment services at your medical center and medical information must be interchanged swiftly and safely.

If healthcare organizations utilize secure texting to keep patients’ EHRs updated, providing a copy of the patient’s treatment on discharge is simple. The easy to use system can considerably minimize patient waiting times when orders are confirmed. In addition, the documenting of Clinical Quality Measures will likewise be much faster when the data is kept in one safe and secure database.

Prescriptions may be checked and sent securely by using secure text messaging, slashing patient wait time as orders are confirmed. Access to patient´s medical files is supervised as per the HIPAA technical security requirements, so there is no risk of compromising medical records during these secure texting procedures.

Additional Advantages of Secure Texting for Healthcare Companies

Besides helping meet the requirements of Stage 1 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use, and supporting HIPAA compliance and medical records security, the use of a secure texting solution could improve workflows, boost efficiency and improve the quality of healthcare patients receive.

Conversations concerning a patient´s healthcare may be immediately added to their EHR, doing away with the manual encoding of treatments and prescribed medicines.

Delivering notices and reading receipts lessens the amount of time wasted by medical specialists on phone tag and allows more productive use of their time.

Doctors can work together securely to decide on patient diagnoses, coordinate the administration of proper treatments, which can and speed up patients’ recovery.

Emergency services staff, on-call doctors, and home healthcare experts can safely receive patient information “on the go” using secure texting.

Administrators can manage accessibility configurations whenever a secure texting solution is built with a company directory to help with a HIPAA-required risk analysis.

Administrative controls can lessen the risk of patient information being compromised should a message is delivered to an incorrect person or when an authorized user has lost his/her personal mobile.

Medical Records HIPAA Guidelines

The HIPAA guidelines for medical records are only applicable to medical records that are generated, stored or sent digitally. All medical records are governed by the HIPAA Privacy Rule and similar considerations ought to be given to preserving the integrity of paper medical records and preventing unauthorized physical PHI disclosures.

Though the HIPAA guidelines for paper medical records are not as extensive as those for digitally-maintained medical records, a lot of the requirements still apply. Covered Entities and Business Associates ought to have a procedure for logging information and monitoring the location of data in transit. Physical PHI ought to be kept in areas with controlled access and must be used only in places with safety measures in place to limit accidental PHI disclosure.

The HIPAA guidelines for paper medical records are detailed in OCR´s Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule under the “General Principles for Uses and Disclosures” section.

One Last Thought Concerning Secure Texting Solutions

One more reason for healthcare organizations to use a secure texting solution is noted in a 2012 survey of business mobile device users. 92% of mobile users preferred to utilize text messaging compared to other means of communication because of the high response rate to text communications.

This notion is not just observed in the business community, but also in the healthcare industry. Medical experts who in the past used pagers tend to give text messages their immediate attention as they are viewed as urgent communications. As a result, healthcare companies employing a secure text messaging solution for HIPAA compliance and medical records security benefit from a faster communications cycle. This consequently results in streamlined workflows, improved efficiency and a higher quality of healthcare provided to patients.

About Daniel Lopez
Daniel Lopez is a HIPAA trainer, passionately committed to enhancing healthcare data protection and privacy standards. As a recognized expert in HIPAA compliance, he holds the role of HIPAA specialist at The HIPAA Guide. Holding a degree in Health Information Management, complemented by certifications in data privacy and security, Daniel's academic and professional credentials are a testament to his expertise. His approach to training is both engaging and educational, catering to a range of professional needs in the healthcare sector. For further information or to benefit from his expertise, Daniel is reachable through HIPAAcoach.com or https://twitter.com/DanielLHIPAA