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Understanding HIPAA compliance during medical emergencies

When a medical emergency occurs, caring for the patient’s immediate physical well-being is the top priority for all of the medical professionals involved. That being said, it is equally crucial to maintain the patient’s privacy and the security of his or her medical records during this chaotic time. That means understanding and adhering to HIPAA compliance, especially during these frenetic situations.

Balancing the public’s right to know with the need for the security of PHI is a challenge, especially during disasters and epidemics. Fortunately, this question is addressed within the text of HIPAA. In a nutshell, HIPAA states that health personnel and other officials responsible for public safety should have access to PHI if having this information is necessary for them to fulfill their responsibilities to the community. These covered entities are also allowed to share PHI with those who are taking care of the patient, including family members and friends and other care-givers. PHI can be transmitted in order to treat the patient, notify friends, relatives or care-givers of a patient’s location or health status, or to warn others about imminent danger to the health and safety of a person or the community.

Striking the balance between protecting health data and making it accessible under specific circumstances can be daunting, particularly in this era of electronic communications. Data shared via standard text messages or mobile phone calls is not adequately protected, as it can be intercepted or inadvertently sent to the wrong person. Fortunately, there is a way that text messages and cell phone calls can, with the proper protections, enable harried healthcare professionals to quickly, seamlessly and safely share information with other medical personnel, thereby markedly increasing the quality of the care a patient receives.

How can electronic communications be adequately safeguarded? Fortunately, software developers have dedicated themselves in recent years to developing a platform that allows for totally secure, HIPAA-compliant communications among medical professionals via their cell phones or tablets. HipaaBridge is an easy-to-use platform that makes sharing PHI safe and easy. The days of long holds on hospital switchboards and blurry, unreliable faxes are over forever. With HipaaBridge, patient care can regain its rightful place at the top of your priority list. Best of all, you will know that your communications are secure and HIPAA compliant. No one wants to pay the hefty fines that noncompliance brings. This ever-evolving and intuitive solution is revolutionizing the way medical professionals safely share patient information.

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