PHI Breaches Set to Rise as Demand For Home Health Care Increases

Posted: Dec 02, 2014
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The demand for home health care is expected to continue to rise over the coming decades as millions of baby boomers begin to retire. The US Census Bureau predicts that by 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons in the United States; more than twice the number reported in 2000.

Data compiled from the NAHC (National Association for Home Care & Hospice) reports that it costs Medicare close to $2,000 per day for a typical hospital stay and $559 per day for a typical nursing home stay. Comparatively, home care costs $44 a day on average. The impact of hospital stay costs vs. the home health care alternative, coupled with the baby boomer demographic reaching retirement age further increases demand for home health care staff.

Fortunately, this increase in demand can be managed more efficiently as mobile technology allows for more flexibility for home health care providers.

Technology does however, come with risks. While patient PHI (Protected Health Information) data can be shared quickly between the home healthcare worker and the patient’s physician, HIPAA compliance needs to be adhered to, and yet the results of the phase 1 audit demonstrates that covered entities and business associates are still failing to comply with ensuring that PHI data is secure.

Home health care staff may use and transmit patients’ health information for purposes of providing treatment, obtaining payment for care and conducting health care operations. While all home health care agencies should have an established policy to guard against unwanted disclosure of PHI, the risk of sharing patient information outside of a hospital or physician’s office is increased due to the lack of encryption deployed on devices used by some covered entities.

Sfax provides a number of benefits to home health care providers to ensure HIPAA compliance, which the likes of email or traditional fax can not offer:

  • Sfax offers secure fax software for mobile devices and tablets, perfect for home health care staff to share PHI information securely while operating in the field
  • All communications sent through Sfax are encrypted with full 256-bit SSL security and AES algorithms and are password protected (encrypted with RSA keys)
  • Home health care providers can be confident that they can retrieve and send patient information quickly and securely
  • Incoming faxes do not sit on publicly-available fax machines. They are automatically routed to a recipient’s secure inbox, which further minimizes risk of breach by not having paper copies of patient records
  • Senders can select recipients from established lists, reducing the chance of incorrectly specifying the destination fax number
  • Sfax can provide a complete end-to-end audit trail of all fax activity, so that covered entities can easily provide information should the need for an audit arise

To find out more about how Sfax can help to ensure your organization is meeting HIPAA standards, speak to a member of our team today at 888-447-3707, or check our plans and pricing page for instant chat.