In case you missed it: Part two of my HIPAA series in Dentalcompare.
Protecting your patient’s privacy is important. Dentists have an obligation to honor patient confidentiality, and the digital age has made that obligation harder to fulfill. In addition you are expected to comply with the HIPAA privacy rules which have only a vague connection with actual privacy.
Last week in we made the distinction between PMP (Protect My Patient) documentation and CYA (Comply Yet Again) documentation. PMP might actually improve patient data protection and CYA protects the dentist from investigators. (As was stated last week the usual disclaimers apply: I am not a lawyer and you would be a fool to take my advice as legal counsel.)
I believe that one of the first and most important things you can do to comply, not only with the law but with the professional obligation we all have to protect patient privacy, is to make team members aware of the issue. Foster a culture of respect for patients and awareness of the importance of confidentiality.
What happens in the office stays in the office. Do NOT talk about anything related to patients at home or with friends.
I have developed a full course on HIPAA compliance that follows the series of articles in Dentalcompare. The compliance process is not easy. The ADA has created a guide to help but even with the guide the process is daunting. Most dentist will need to consult with their IT provider to do the assessment and create the paperwork needed to comply. If you need some help contact Pact-One.