Health Information Management

Tip of the week: Adapt your policies to protect all confidential information

HIM-HIPAA Insider, October 9, 2007

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For many healthcare providers, HIPAA provided the impetus to create information and security policies. However, in most cases, the policies and procedures you create for HIPAA compliance are reasonable to adapt for use in protecting the rest of your organization's confidential information. Although HIPAA doesn't cover your human resource records or your fiscal data, it only makes sense to protect this information while you are securing your patients' protected health information (PHI).

Adapt your policies relatively easily so that they protect all of your organization's confidential data and not just your PHI. "It's easy. Instead of saying 'All PHI will be protected,' you change your policies to state: 'All confidential information will be protected,' " suggests Kate Borten, CISSP, CISM, a Marblehead, MA-based HIPAA privacy and security consultant. Suddenly, your policies also cover not only your PHI, but also your financial data, your personnel records, and whatever other information your facility considers confidential.

This tip was adapted from the October 2007 issue of Health Information Compliance Insider. For more information, click here.

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