HIPAA, short for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a law passed by the US Congress in 1996 concerning health care coverage for residents of the US. Among other things, the law mandates establishment of standards to ensure security for information that is deemed private. The privacy rules apply to all handlers of information. This means medical transcription services also have to assure security for the information that passes through their hands: they have to guarantee HIPAA compliant Medical transcription in order to secure business.
HIPAA compliant medical transcription is not taken for granted by those who award contracts. Mushrooming transcription businesses means that the service providers have to be audited for certified for HIPAA compliance before contracts are signed. Transcription businesses must have procedures for handling data securely at every stage. Staff have to be whetted, and trained in following the prescribed procedure. Any breach in security is likely to result in penalties and even loss of business.
HIPAA compliant medical transcription requires security during the entire time the data is handled by the transcription service. Records can come in through multiple sources: telephone, digital recorders, computer files, etc. The computer networks must be hacker-proof. The workflow must be designed to increase efficiency and at the same time protect the confidentiality of the records.
For the clients who use transcription services, the assurance that a business is a HIPAA compliant medical transcription service means that they can with confidence use their service without fear of being in violation of the law. Any breach may lead to consequences such as lawsuits and administrative penalties. When a transcription service is certified HIPAA compliant, the clients know they have a reliable partner in maintaining up to date records with quality assured.