The Power of Paper Charts

paper medical charts can be a HIPAA security risk

Will paper charts bring you down?

paper charts can be a HIPAA security risk in a medical officeThe veterinarian we saw a couple years ago was not engaged with technology.  I’ll bet they used great technology in the back rooms for the animals, but there wasn’t a computer in sight.

Personally, I loved the view of that “chart wall” behind the front desk staff.  The thousands of charts neatly filed, with all the multi-colored tabs creating rainbows of information.  There was something comforting about the neatness and order of that wall.

Recently, I visited a dentist’s office which had the same ‘chart wall’ of paper charts.  Upon visual investigation, I could not see any cupboard doors, pull-down fence, or any indication that these charts could be secured when the office staff leaves for the night.
Sitting there, I noticed the beauty and serenity of the waiting area.  It seemed that there was a considerable investment in the ‘spa-like’ atmosphere.  The front desk staff sported wireless headsets, and I knew from a previous visit the back-office equipment was first-rate.  But I couldn’t get those paper charts out of my mind…

Paper Records are More Susceptible to Breach than Any Other Medium – and could cost you dearly

 Consider everyone who has access to these paper files.  If you employ a cleaning company:
  • Do they have access to your office after-hours?
  • Are your paper records securely locked up?
  • Is locking up those records part of your daily office routine?

 This applies to your old paper charts in storage, too 

cleaning service at office with paper chartsIf you’ve converted to EMR and have your paper charts stored, seriously consider their security.  Even if stored off-site, don’t let off-site be ‘out-of-mind’.  It remains your responsibility to secure them, even when you are not physically present.
  • Are paper charts stored in a basement, attic or storage unit?
  • What happens to the records in a fire? A flood?
  • Are they locked up securely at all times?
  • Are they accessible by the cleaning crew?
  • Can they be accessed by the building contractor? Maintenance person?

What can you do?

Your best solution is to accurately analyze the security risk in your practice.  Besides being an annual requirement of the HIPAA regulations, a Risk Analysis will highlight any risk your paper charts may bring to your practice.
You don’t have to be worried or lose sleep – call to schedule a Risk Analysis today!  Not only is this Analysis required by the HIPAA regulations, it will help you know your technology network.  Following the analysis, you will receive a detailed list of the shortcomings within your network, prioritized by the potential threat level.
Sincerely acting in your best interest,
Eric  

Let us worry about your computers & networks so you can focus on managing your business!

 Call 541.494.2099 to Schedule your Risk Analysis today!