HIPAA Compliancy & Security in Healthcare Call Centers. It's all About Technology, Right?
HIPAA means "security" in most peoples minds, right? And, the answer should be a resounding "yes." But, I find for many people, the acronym HIPAA means Information Technology Security. And, they would be half-right. Achieving HIPAA IT Compliancy is easier and more cost effective in 2018 because of cloud computing data networks and the low cost to build a highly secure LAN. So, what about the other half?
Every sector of the healthcare community, including third-party vendors, must meet government guidelines for protecting sensitive patient information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulates how data is collected. So, the agents who are working in your healthcare call center must receive specific, extensive training to ensure they follow industry protocols when interacting with patients. This is the side of HIPAA that is not as well understood or managed. I call this the "human factor." And it can have a far greater impact on your business if not well administered and monitored. Therefore, within the Emerging Global Services (EGS) call center, we actively adhere to the following (and you can to, or ensure that your outsourced healthcare call center partner adheres to the following), with the goal of 100% adherence at all time, and always keeping HIPAA "Top of Mind" for our call center agents, supervisors and managers:
Robust New Hire Training and Certification. All call center agents we hire go through a day-long training session on HIPAA Compliancy, and the ramifications of not adhering to such regulations.
Weekly Quality Assurance Monitoring and Coaching of Agents and Supervisors for HIPPA Compliancy. We have a quality assurance team in place that listens to recorded calls of every HIPAA-trained call center agent weekly. Generally, at least 3-5 calls are monitored, scored for accuracy and then sent to all managers, supervisors and trainers to document weekly. This creates a feedback loop for point #3.
On-going Monthly Training and Testing. All of our employees are required to attend on-going training on HIPPA compliance, security and protection of patient data monthly. This session includes reviewing and evaluating their previous months adherence to the guidelines and discussing current daily processes around privacy and security within HIPAA.
Although the above steps are somewhat rudimentary (I.E. Training, QA Monitoring, Coaching, Training, over and over), they will ensure that your agents and supervisors (humans) will eventually have HIPAA fully "top of mind" when performing any healthcare call center tasks in communicating with patients, doctors, nurses and/or family members of patients.
Should you have questions, or have any need for call center support for your healthcare call center, or any other type of call center, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 602-312-8900. Our Nearshore and Phoenix area call centers are all HIPAA and PCI Compliant, and we always have capacity and welcome new members!!
- Steve Shefveland, Founder
Emerging Global Services, LLC