How online scheduling solutions can help your healthcare business

The key to being a successful healthcare company — aside from providing great patient care — is getting the logistics and organization components of operations down to a fine art. You can accomplish this with the help of a reliable online scheduling solution.

Online scheduling is one of the simplest and most popular technologies used by forward-thinking health clinics and hospitals. It shows your patients which doctors and what times are available for appointments, and then allows them to book the appointment right on your website. Practices that have kept up with tech trends like this have seen an uptick in both the number of patients they take in and the quality of care they are able to provide. They are also able to reap the following benefits.

More potential new patients

Today, people are less inclined to make phone calls, especially if it involves ringing up someone they don’t know. For many people looking for a new doctor or specialist, they will simply keep looking for one whose information and appointment booking system can be found online.

More time for your staff, better care for your patients

Think about how much time your staff spend each day answering phone calls from people making an appointment. It’s probably a lot if you have a busy practice. Online scheduling lessens phone time required so that your staff can better focus on and tend to patients. As a result, patients will feel truly cared for and will more likely return to your healthcare facility in the future.

Setting appointments beyond clinic hours

In the past, patients had to wait for the clinic to open just to make an appointment. With online scheduling, they now can simply log in to your website and see available appointment times so they can plan their schedule accordingly around their visit.

Still unsure whether you need online scheduling?

Sure, you probably can get away with not having it at the moment, but eventually, most patients will expect this technology from you. And the sooner you roll out online scheduling, the sooner your staff will get the hang of it, and the sooner your patients can enjoy its benefits.

Need help setting up online scheduling for your practice? Talk to our IT experts today and we’ll make sure this technology will make things easier for your patients.

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4 Important details about HIPAA compliance

Getting your practice up to code when it comes to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations can seem challenging upon first glance, but knowing where your IT efforts must be prioritized is the first step. In this article, we’ll zero in on four of the most critical items you must look into to become HIPAA-compliant.

1. Whether it be on-premises, on the cloud, or both, data storage must be HIPAA-compliant

Electronic protected health information (ePHI) and any sensitive documents like billing records, appointment information, and test results must be stored in HIPAA-compliant devices and servers. More specifically, your devices and services should have multiple layers of security, including endpoint protection software, encryption systems, and strict access controls.

Healthcare providers tend to prefer building their own data centers since they won’t require internet connectivity to access on-premises data storage. However, storage space may be limited, so the cloud is viable, especially for less sensitive ePHI. When choosing cloud-based storage for your EHRs, make sure that you and your service provider meet HIPAA requirements.

2. Data must be secured while providing telehealth and mHealth services

If your practice has invested in or is thinking about investing in telehealth or mobile health (mHealth), then you need to make sure that the tech you utilize is HIPAA-compliant. While most telehealth technologies are HIPAA-approved, one or two additional measures may be required for complete compliance. For example, you may need to utilize encryption in transit to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks during virtual consultations. An IT specialist should have no problem making sure your telehealth solution is up to code.

On the other hand, mHealth may be a little more problematic, as it is a new and constantly changing field. Your best bet is to consult with an expert to make sure that you’re following all the necessary regulations when providing mHealth services.

3. Healthcare business associates must also be HIPAA-compliant

Conforming to HIPAA regulations is not just limited to medical practices, healthcare clearinghouses, and health plan organizations. Any business that has access, electronic or otherwise, to PHI is also required by law to be HIPAA-compliant. This includes any accounting or law firms you work with that may already be accessing your files electronically to carry out work.

To avoid any potential trouble for your practice or its partners, it is best to ask them if they are HIPAA-compliant before partnering with them. If they aren’t, do not grant them data access privileges.

4. Your protected health information (PHI) notice must be available online

If your practice has a website, HIPAA rules dictate that your website must contain a copy of your updated PHI notice for patients to access. This notice informs patients of their rights with regard to their health information. If this information is not currently posted on your website, rectify this as soon as possible to avoid any problems.

Still not sure if you’re 100% HIPAA-compliant? Our team of experts can run the necessary risk analysis and identify areas of your technology that may not be in line with current regulations. Just give us a call today.

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