At Walker360, we are always looking for ways to improve our business for the benefit of our customers. That’s why we are a HIPAA Compliant printer that specializes in print and mailing services for the healthcare industry. You will never have to worry about your healthcare data or patient records when printing and mailing with Walker360. Over the years, Walker360 has provided HIPAA compliant printing services for hospitals, private practices, insurance agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and so many other businesses in the healthcare industry. Our team of printing experts are well trained on HIPAA compliance rules and regulations. At every level of our printing and mailing process, we work hard to ensure your information and your patients’ records remain confidential.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is often shortened to HIPAA. Under HIPAA, citizens gained the right to have their personal health information safeguarded and protected. A number of standards and protocols were developed by HIPAA in order to keep patient data confidential and to outline procedures for transferring the data. HIPAA is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services and is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights.
What does HIPAA Compliance protect?
Protected Health Information, or PHI, is data that falls under the protection of HIPAA. Patient information and details that classify as PHI are:
- Email Address
- Health conditions and plans
- Phone Number
- Medical Records
- IP Address
- Bank account number or any financial information
- Social Security number
- Vehicle information
- Links to any website or page
- Certificate numbers
- Biometric identifiers
- Facial images
At every point in the printing and mailing process, the patient PHI must be protected. From receiving and processing the data for printing, to transferring the data to the printers for mailing, to properly disposing of the data when the job is completed, patient records must be protected at every stage under HIPAA law. In the event that there is a data leak, a print center must have protocols in place to properly respond, report, and document the situation.
When Congress passed HIPAA, it granted individuals the right to their medical privacy and that HIPAA would protect their rights. A healthcare business cannot send direct mail that publicly displays any private patient information that is protected under HIPAA. At the same time, the company processing and storing patient information should be taking the proper precautions to make sure that information stays private. This includes making sure online security and firewalls are up to date, employees are trained on HIPAA protocols, patient data is properly stored and disposed of, and any other steps a company may take to protect patient data.
Why is HIPAA Compliance Important?
Companies that are HIPAA compliant are less likely to make mistakes that will result in data breaches. With proper training and guidelines in place, employees will be aware that keeping data secure is a top priority. Many companies like Walker360, will also integrate HIPAA compliance into their processes as a requirement to complete the job. This ensures that print advertising and direct mail pieces cannot be sent out unless it follows all HIPAA compliance regulations.
How does HIPAA Compliance Apply to My Print and Direct Mail Advertising?
HIPAA-compliant mailings cannot have sensitive patient information readily displayed on the mailer. You cannot print a postcard with a list of the patient’s health conditions or prescriptions. The majority of direct mail pieces for healthcare advertising must be enclosed in an envelope or specialty fold design to ensure PHI is not easily read on the outside. The quality of the paper and graphic design must also ensure individuals cannot read the PHI data inside the enclosed envelope. Healthcare businesses work hard to keep their patient records accurate and up to date. It is also just as equally important that your print partner accurately processes and distributes mailings to the correct people with the correct healthcare information. The last thing you want is for someone to receive the wrong insurance card or prescription information.
HIPAA print and mailing services can include but are not limited to:
- Explanation of Benefits
- Explanation of Coverage
- Statements for recent Health Services
- Health Insurance Cards
- Breach of security notifications
- Scholarly mailers highlighting medical procedures
- Changes from your healthcare provider or doctor
It is crucial to choose a HIPAA compliant print partner and to make sure your printer maintains their HIPAA certification each year.
Who needs to be HIPAA Compliant?
To simplify the law, HIPAA states certain classes of professionals as “covered entities” which can include: health insurance companies, healthcare providers, healthcare clearing houses, and employer health plans. Business marketing and advertising vendors must become a HIPAA business associate if they wish to offer services to businesses in the healthcare industry. This includes printers, like Walker360, as well as cloud hosting firms, SMS, faxing, email service providers, and companies storing PHI in electronic forms or databases.
The only entities that are excluded are postal services and carrier providers such as USPS, FedEx, and UPS. Since these mail providers are only transporting the PHI related documents from one place to another, it is not necessary to be HIPAA compliant. They are not involved in holding or storing this data for a long period.
What do you need to become HIPAA Compliant?
HIPAA compliance can essentially be divided into three categories: privacy, security, and breach notification rule. A business must meet the defined requirements, update their business operations, and procedures to become HIPAA certified. Additionally, a business must have a HIPAA Security Officer to implement policies and procedures to prevent and correct any violations. All staff must be trained on proper business processes and HIPAA compliance law every year to maintain the HIPAA certification.
HIPAA compliant businesses have to be audited each year to ensure the business is still following all protocols and is up to date on any new developments with HIPAA law. The audit evaluates three types of safeguards to secure PHI: administrative, physical, and technical.
On the administrative level, companies must document their management process, provide security training, have a HIPAA Security Officer, and continuously asses security protocols. Physical safeguards include the steps taken to control who has access to the facility where data is stored. Appropriate measures must be taken to secure the data facility, such as installing cameras, password protected doors, and security badges for users who are authorized to enter the facility. Technical safeguards include utilizing secure firewalls, programs, and software that can safely store, transfer, and remove PHI data. This also includes defining a level of security and limitations for the employees within your company who are authorized to access the data electronically or use the data for business purposes.
To become a HIPAA compliant printer, Walker360 had to meet and continuously work to follow all these requirements.
Work with a HIPAA Compliant Printer
Our HIPAA compliant print and mailing services take every precaution to ensure your business data and patient records remain safe and secure. Even if you aren’t in the healthcare industry, we take the same precautions to protect your business and customers’ data. We have worked hard to maintain a reputation as a printing company you can trust, so you know you can always count on us. HIPAA compliance is important to us, which is why we always take the proper steps to improve our business methods.