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GDS Helps Covered Entities and Business Associates Use Technology More Advantageously

The field is ever-widening where concerns BAs, BAAs, CEs, and a host of other terms and arrangements that answer to compliance laws and regulations in the U.S. We help Covered Entities and Business Associates use technology more advantageously through a rigorous program of risk assessment, monitoring, maintenance, and adjustment of our healthcare IT services clients.

Our Business Associate monitoring program includes a thorough Risk Assessment of the Covered Entity’s Business Associate network. This assessment ensures the confidentiality and integrity of PHI data throughout the network. The assessment also identifies existing vulnerabilities within the organization and provides a detailed corrective action plan to mitigate this risk.

Our healthcare IT consulting prepares CEs and BAs for the audits by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, OCR, and for all future information security initiatives.

State Privacy Laws and Legal Action

Many states have enacted statutes that protect the privacy and security of health information. HIPAA preempts (or invalidates) state laws that conflict with it or provide less protection for privacy but state laws that are more protective continue to apply. In California, a HIPAA Business Associate also is likely covered under the state’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (the “CMIA”).

Under the CMIA, the state attorney general, a county council, district attorney, or city attorney may bring a civil action to enforce the CMIA, and individuals may sue for damages arising from any negligent release of confidential information.

In addition, individuals can sue Covered Entities (e.g. hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other medical facilities) and their Business Associates (and others) for violations under the common law principles of invasion of privacy, defamation, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty, among others. Business Associates may also be sued by their Covered Entities for breaching the terms of their BAAs.

These are situations GDS can help you avoid at a surprisingly small cost.

Keeping an accurate count of Business Associates is a challenge for large Covered Entities, due to volume and that origination and management of Business Associate relationships frequently occur throughout the organization.

The number and size of Business Associates used by Covered Entities vary widely. Generally, smaller Covered Entities, such as independent physician practices and health centers, contract with only a handful of Business Associates, while larger Covered Entities, such as health plans and health systems operating in multiple regions across the country, contract with thousands, making help for Covered Entities and Business Associates in technology use all the more emergent.

Most of the larger Covered Entities are usually only able to estimate the number of their Business Associates. Often there are multiple points of origination for Business Associate relationships throughout their organizations (i.e., Business Associates can be hired and managed by various “business units” and may not be managed by the legal or compliance office), making it difficult to catalogue all Business Associates in one place or have confidence in an absolute number.

While some of the larger Covered Entities reported using an electronic database to track their Business Associates, they noted the possibility, for the reason stated above and others, that a significant number of Business Associates may not be included in the database. In some cases, the primary function of this database is to track vendor relationships, some of which may not be Business Associates.

Enter Global Data Systems and our Total Data Protection and its guarantee to help Covered Entities and Business Associates use technology in wiser ways.

How Secure is Your Patient Data?

Is your patient data being properly secured and protected?

How about your data backup and disaster recovery readiness? Is it where it should be, or are you skirting the fine line between “just another day at the office” and total catastrophe?

The bottom line is – you need to do as much as possible to protect sensitive health information in EHRs. The consequences of a power outage and data center downtime and a successful cyber breach are equally serious, with the resulting probable consequence of lost patient trust, compliance violations, and more.

Barely a day goes by that we don’t see reports on the consequences of data breaches, which call into question medical facilities’ healthcare IT services and security (especially) every time they happen, creating the need to help Covered Entities and Business Associates use technology in less risky ways.

What should be a source for even further motivation for medical facilities to step-up their healthcare technology “safe use,” is the fact that research shows that even well-meaning computer users can inadvertently cause a cyber breach.

Our Managed IT Services for Medical Practices is Further Insurance

Having a managed services company like ours handle your hospital, doctor’s office or other medical practice’s network performance provides further insurance that you get consistent IT care.

Related Fact: 96% of respondents in a recent CompTIA Survey said their managed services provider saves them money. It’s clear that investing in IT managed services will help your healthcare facility grow in multiple ways, as you continuously reinvest money saved through sensible IT management back into your operations.

So, are there other ways to guarantee maximum data protection in your medical offices?

Absolutely! Below, we’ve listed some key ways to make sure your data is kept where it should be and only seen by authorized eyes:

We Help Protect Your Patients’ Protected Health Information

Generally, “individually identifiable health information” is information that relates to an individual’s health and that identifies an individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe can be used to identify an individual.

Our technology solutions secure that ePHI behind an impenetrable fence of alert monitoring and intrusion prevention that means prying eyes are kept out.

We help Covered Entities and Business Associates use technology in safer, more secure ways, enabling today’s medical practitioners to secure their patient data and ensure their continuance as a healthcare practice.

We provide many IT solutions for healthcare practitioners which include:

  • Application Architecture & Delivery
  • Backup and Recovery
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Microsoft Solutions
  • Networking
  • Network Upgrades & Refresh
  • Security Consulting & Solutions
  • Virtualization
  • WAN Architecture

We Can Also Train or Become Your Compliance Manager

Helping healthcare organizations remain in compliance requires ongoing, conscientious efforts to understand the compliance requirements of finance, operations, human resources, data security, and more.

Our role as the compliance officer is to work with other managers and department heads to identify and manage the risk associated with various compliance laws and regulations – more specifically, associated with violating them, whether by accident or design. The rules are often very specific, allowing for no loopholes or creative explanations.

However, this isn’t the only thing compliance managers can do that can help Covered Entities and Business Associates use technology safer. Compliance managers are also responsible for making sure everyone else in the organization understands the possible risks and can spot potential issues as soon as they crop up – and long before they become firestorms of epic proportion.

As your stand-in compliance manager, we can:

  • Identify risks and advise on courses to reduce or eliminate them;
  • Design and implement controls that will manage these risks;
  • Monitor the controls;
  • Draw up regular reports on how well those controls are working, and present them to the C-Suite, shareholders and other stakeholders;
  • Resolve compliance issues as they crop up;
  • Help perform internal audits and hire outside help in performing periodic audits;
  • Update your compliance and auditing procedures routinely;
  • Teach others good compliance policies;
  • Oversee your compliance department, which will vary in size in accordance with the size of your organization.

We also provide EHR software for safe legacy electronic medical record archiving.

So, are you ready to get your healthcare IT services to a place that bridges the gap of “unknowns” between Covered Entities and Business Associates?

Time to Get Total Data Protection for Your Patients and Organization

GDS helps companies nationwide establish better healthcare IT best practices so today’s medical practitioners can secure patient data and keep providing the care for which they’re sought-after.

For further guidance and qualified consultancy that will help Covered Entities and Business Associates use technology in safe, compliant ways that guarantee total data protection, visit GDS and contact us at (888) 849-6818 or info@GDSConnect.com for more information.

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