Category: VOIP

Hip about HIPAA

Female patient at the dentist giving a high-five and looking very happy with her smile design

Dr. Robertson, now retired, was my dentist. He ran a modern dental practice. It was both hip and fun. First, the fun: he always made me laugh. Sometimes, he had to stop the procedure because I was laughing so hard. He remember details about my life, and so did his staff. Shannon, his dental hygienist, always encouraged my progress. How did they remember those details? Was it note taking, a great memory or a HIPAA compliant communications and patient relationship management system? I don’t know. But I always recommended Shannon and Dr. Robertson and his staff because they were excellent in all the ways that mattered. I left their office with a problem solved, a brighter smile and a lighter step. That’s the human “technology” of a great experience.

I Like

What’s hip is that they also used technology to set my appointments. The office sent emails to remind me of my upcoming appointments, and a few years later, based on my preference, switched to text reminders. Sometimes I got texts asking if I’d like an earlier appointment as they had an unexpected opening. And because Dr. Robertson knew I marketed cool technology he would ask me my thoughts about xyz software or technology tools he used. Thanks Dr. Robertson for being great.

Today the modern dental office uses digital patient relationship management (PRM) and HIPAA compliant communication platforms to help their practices run more efficiently.  These systems save money, help staff fill empty seats, send appointment reminders to patients and more. Doctors can make calls from anywhere to their staff on their smartphones to relay patient information. Office managers can automate messages, send funny and informative texts and capture ways patients best engage. But all those digital resources must meet security standards to protect sensitive patient health information.

Meeting those security standards and HIPAA compliance is not complicated. The best technology providers ensure their systems meet regulatory requirements. Janice Janssen, a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), offers the following recommendations in her article: Tips for staying ‘hip’ with HIPAA regulations for dental practices:

Create practice HIPAA compliance and security breach policies

Well thought out, written plans are needed to ensure that your practice stays in compliance. Your HIPAA compliance policy should clearly state the responsibilities of your office and each staff member in protecting your patients’ private health information. The policy should clearly outline how your office handles and remediates various kinds of security breaches.

Have a HIPAA privacy officer

The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires certain safeguards to best protect the privacy of your patients’ health information. One safeguard is giving someone the responsibility of overseeing and applying these rules. Large offices may want to hire someone to have this sole responsibility. If you have a small office with a limited budget, then you as the dentist or your office manager can assume this role. Whoever is assigned this job needs to be reliable and organized as well as fully trained on HIPAA laws.

Educate your staff on HIPAA laws

For your practice to stay HIPAA compliant, each employee must know what’s required of them to be compliant. Have your HIPAA privacy officer hold team trainings where employees sign a written agreement that states they’ve fulfilled the required training. Employees can help prevent HIPAA violations and keep the office compliant when they’re educated on what the HIPAA laws are and the consequences of being non-compliant.

Perform regular risk assessments

Security risk analysis is a critical part of maintaining HIPAA compliancy. This helps identify security vulnerabilities in your office and lets you know what actions you need to take to correct and prevent these security violations. Although you can perform these risk assessments on your own, oftentimes it’s more effective when performed by an outside expert, such as Janssen or with the help of HIPAA compliance software.

Use a HIPAA compliant communication system

Ask your technology vendor to provide a HIPAA compliance business associate certificate. If they don’t know what you are talking about, you probably want to try another technology solution with the HIPAA expertise to answer your questions.

RingRx is a phone and patient-staff communication system that’s built specifically for doctors, therapists and providers of health services. RingRx delivers the quality, the value and the simplicity you desire and the security and compliance you need. To learn more, visit our website at www.ringrx.com or call 1-888-980-6860 to speak with RingRx HIPAA compliance certified customer service managers.

 

What’s VoIP and What’s Smart About a HIPAA Compliant Softphone Anyway?

RingRx HIPAA Compliant Phone System Now Offers an App or Softphone

With the huge growth of mobile and cloud connected telephony, you may have heard about the benefits of a using #VOIP and a #softphone system vs your traditional phone system but what is VoIP and what is a softphone anyway? What are the real benefits? How can  using a softphone positively impact your business, cut costs, unify and secure your communications? RingRx can help you get smart about a HIPAA compliant communication system and now the company has launched an app, a softphone that meets your needs to make calls on the go.

What is VOIP?  For you, the caller, a VoIP phone system works the same way as a traditional Public Exchange phone (PBX). But unlike your landline phone, VoIP phones cost less to use and also give you more functionality than a landline phone. According to the VoIP Report, “VoIP sends voice over the  Internet just like any other data like emails or web browsing gets sent. The data uses “fire and forget” technology. For example, once you dial the number on a VoIP phone, the “line” does not stay open. The data packet containing the phone number gets transmitted and forgotten. The system converts the number into an IP address and moves it along the data stream along with all the other Internet transmissions. Hence, the VoIP line does not stay open. A traditional phone line, once the phone is dialed, remains connected. When the other person picks up the phone, the line stays open. The periods between words or sentences still require the line to remain open. ” With the Internet, if no one speaks then no data packet gets initiated and sent. You are not continually connected. Hence, VoIP is much more efficient at transmitting data or voice.”  In summary, VoIP is less costly, faster and better if…it’s delivered to meet your standards for HIPAA compliance.  Yes, that’s the catch for the medical and mobile health practices. We’ll talk more about that in a moment…but now onto the softphone…a #softphone is a phone that lets you make calls over the internet from a computer or other smart phone device. It is software that acts as a phone interface, allowing you to dial phone numbers and carry out other phone related functions via your touchscreen or by using your mouse, keypad or keyboard on your laptop or desktop.

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The softphone is used with VoIP…and is a dynamic and unified way to deliver voice information over the internet. For businesses, the savings are significant. For #doctors and #therapists, the system needs to meet regulatory compliance. 

For doctors on the go, especially those who travel abroad, a HIPAA compliant softphone allows you to conveniently make calls from your smartphones and laptops. It’s also well suited for small and medium size practices– you can cut costs by severing ties with  expensive traditional phone companies. No hardware or upkeep. No IT required. But not all systems are alike. For #healthcare providers, doctors and therapists, your communications must be secure with standards that meet HIPAA compliance. 

RingRx uses the latest voice, web, and mobile technologies to deliver a high-value, user-friendly service to reduce cost and errors and improve convenience. The RingRx VoIP and Softphone system is comprised of several specialized features that target specific pain points unique to physicians, nurses, medical office managers, therapists and their business associates. Presently, the RingRx platform includes a professional grade cloud-based phone system, a smartphone app that adds mobility and convenience, web-based faxing, and an automated on-call system. We provide a web-based user portal to manage the system and more to help you meet requirements for HIPAA and the HITECH Act. The RingRx team’s 20 years experience with traditional on-call solutions provides deep insight into distinct medical and therapist practice needs that cannot be detected by research alone. The RingRx solution – powered by state-of-the-art technology – meets real-world demands.

RingRx is the phone system to keep your data secure and meet regulatory mandates while lowering your phone system costs. Now that’s what’s smart about using the only HIPAA compliant softphone for doctors.

  • Unlimited Local + Long Distance
  • Custom Office Greetings
  • Centralized Message Storage
  • Send Voicemail to Email
  • Link Multiple Locations

heidi 2 retouchTo learn more and try it free, visit RingRx.com. Or contact me at   1-888-980-6860 to set up a call to talk about your specific office needs. We can help simplify your patient-staff communications, save you money on your phone system, increase efficiency and practice management and new this year…grow your business with messaging and more.

 

 

 

 

RingRx in the New Year with Simpler, Better HIPAA Compliant Patient Communications

Happy New Year. We at RingRx, makers of the premier HIPAA compliant phone system for doctors, have put together a quick checklist for you to help keep your practice HIPAA healthy while you manage more efficiently and grow and be more secure in 2017.

A Little HIPAA Primer

Changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) affect everything from how you secure your patients’ protected health information to the contracts you sign with vendors to what you need to tell patients about their privacy rights. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which developed the regulations, says the updates are needed to account for the widespread use of electronic health records and other changes in health information technology that have occurred since HIPAA was enacted in 1996.

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Compliance with the updated regulations requires you to do the following:

  • conduct a risk analysis to determine the vulnerability of electronic protected health information (PHI) to loss or theft, and document that they have done so;
  • encrypt patient PHI so that it can’t be used if it’s lost or stolen;
  • review policies and procedures for what do if PHI is lost, stolen, or inappropriately disclosed;
  • review contracts with vendors and other “business associates” that have access to PHI to ensure that the vendors have proper safeguards in place to secure patient PHI.

RingRx can help. We develop the HIPAA compliant technology for your patient communications–on the phone in the office, via mobile when you’re out and about and even with your calendaring system.  RingRx has the proper safeguards in place to secure patient PHI with its cost-effective phone system, designed for doctors, therapists,healthcare professionals and social workers.

Doctors and office managers report they are seeing significant cost-savings as well. Up to 60 percent savings on their phone systems with unfailing accuracy.

But don’t forget to do this or put it off because HIPAA compliance is a vital key to peace of mind for you, your staff and your patients. Remember the beautiful story of the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry?  I think of this quote often as we build our products: “People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”

RingRx is helping to tame HIPAA compliance for you with your patient communications and your phone system, mobile device and calendaring systems. Plus we have  a simpler, better way to help you connect sensitive patient data and phi on the phone with electronic medical records. With RingRx, HIPAA compliance on the phone is that simple.

 

To get your practice up to speed for HIPAA this year, experts say, conduct a thorough evaluation of your practice operations to make certain you remain in compliance for data security, privacy, and reporting of breaches.

More information about the updated HIPAA regulations is available at https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Administrative-Simplification/HIPAA-ACA/index.html

 

tinareyesI’ll get ready to close this Little Primer with another great quote from the Little Prince as I think about the regulatory challenges you manage as you practice in the science and healing arts: “Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” May you transform and grow your practice and reach your goals this year.

I’d enjoy a conversation with you. I can help you learn more about RingRx Free Trial and customizing it specifically for your offices. We’ve been building phone system and conducting live after hours answering services for more than 30 years. We can help simplify your patient communications, save you money on your phone system, increase efficiency and practice management and new this year…grow your business with messaging and more.  Contact me, Tina @treyes@ringrx.com or call me at 1-888-980-6860

THE VOIP HIPAA DILEMMA

For about the last 30 years traditional phone systems have been the standard for most medical practices.  These were bulky systems that had tape drives!  Remember those? But they have evolved into the digital world with messages being texted right to our smartphones.  During this time these messages changed from analog to digital.

This has been a good change for many. Information in digital form does have its advantages.  For medical practices making this switch to VoIP, they now have to consider that their voicemails are now electronic and if they contain PHI they now fall into the category of ePHI and must be protected under HIPAA law.  There is no need to worry about this with RingRx.  We can help!

More About VoIP Systems

These systems provide two main functions:

  1. The transmission of a message (a phone call)
  2. The storage of that message (voicemail)

Because voicemails are stored on cloud-based servers they require HIPAA compliance, contrary to the belief of many.  You can read more about this here in this great article:

http://www.mgma.com/healthcare-consulting/hot-topics/consulting-articles/hipaa-and-voice-over-internet-protocol

This fact has practices like yours mitigating their risks by upgrading to a VoIP system.  This can not only protect your practice when done in combination with the implementation of BAA’s, which RingRx can also provide, but it can save you hundreds on your current phone bill!

RingRx Office Phone Capabilities

At RingRx we realize that most companies with an interest in updating the way they manage their on call schedule are actually “window shopping” for a proper fit. There are of course some options available to you and your business. And the overriding desire is a need to progress beyond the old school way of managing these calls (the switch board operator being a common example).

In addition to offering a HIPAA compliant phone system, our services also include a mobile app, easy access to the on call schedule that you obiphone1022set up for your practice, and a physical phone system. The advanced office phones are what I’d like to touch on in this blog.

The phones that are offered as part of your service are the Obi1000 series, a technically advanced user friendly office phone with the best possible clarity available on the market. These are the actual physical phones for your office to be used by you and your staff. Of course these phones provide a seamless interface between our Cloudphone and user portal, making it easy to navigate and operate the system.

Here are some of the more exciting features that you get with an Obihai phone:

 

  • High-Definition ‘HD’ Voice Technology for Crystal-Clear Call Clarity – Service Dependent
  • OBiTALK Cloud Management and Service Configuration
  • Large Vivid Color Display – User Configured Themes and Multi-Dimensional Navigation
  • Full-Duplex Speakerphone with Built-In Class D Amplifier and Audio Equalizer
  • Dual Ethernet Ports with Power over Ethernet (PoE) Support – External 12v Power Supply Included

 

 

Communication in a HIPAA Environment

We live in a world where we are connected through technology like never before. Most of us can remember a time before the Internet and instant messaging. And those of us that can remember such a time (not so long ago) can appreciate how far we’ve come. From both a personal and a work standpoint the ability to communicate virtually instantaneously with each other regardless of distance is, for the most part, taken for granted these days, but is no less incredible.

However, in regards to the Health Care industry there are still some obstacles to overcome. Especially when considering the necessary compliance to HIPAA. For instance, a regular email is not encrypted and therefore not HIPAA compliant. Which is why a patients personal information is not included in an email, not if the Health Care professionals involved wish to avoid a possible fine for noncompliance.

Reencryptcent advances in encryption technology have taken place that enable safe, secure and most importantly HIPAA compliant emailing to take place. It is a technical service that allows patient information to be sent and received securely and legally. One such service called “Tiger Text” is making the goal of secure encrypted emailing a fact.

Tiger Text offers a system that operates the same way as SMSs or emails. If you are familiar with emails, then you will understand the basics of the HIPAA compliant system offered by them. You can add files/pictures and all the usual attachments that you are familiar with when sending a regular email.

The bonus of using a system like Tiger Text (the overall selling point really) is that compliance to HIPAA is regulated by the technology itself. There is nothing for the user to have to do personally to make it work. Which is naturally helpful to anyone who works in Health Care; with the millions of other things on your plate, worrying about properly encrypted emails should not be an added headache to your already busy day. This seems like a very useful technology and is the focus, in regards to HIPAA compliant messaging, for many hospitals and clinics both large an small.

The advantages of having your patient related emails HIPAA compliant are obvious. So this is definitely a service worth investigating. There are several companies that are providing this service and Tiger Text seems to be one well worth your consideration.  Click on the link provided below to learn more.

 

http://www.tigertext.com/hipaa-compliance-for-email/

 

A Game Plan for HIPAA

It’s not that surprising that Health Care providers and hospitals/clinics are sometimes in violation of breaking HIPAA compliance. However it is probably much more prevalent than people realize. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been around for over a decade, first being enforced in 2004.  And although it is referenced often and is in general principle understood by most people, including patients and Health Care professionals alike, it still is a time consuming and sometimes difficult practice to adhere to.

The unsettling news is that, regardless of size and influence, most medical establishments are at some point in danger of violating HIPAA compliance. Luckily there are more ways available to the Health Care field in recent years to make such deviations less likely. Most have to do with the encryption of patient information, proper training for employees and an overall understanding of the laws involved.

There are some hipaa imggggggbasic tools at your disposal when it comes to complying with these laws. It’s obvious that companies in the Heath Care field want to avoid costly fines and lengthy law suits, so most are instigating these practices.

First of all it’s important to have some workforce training. If the employees in your company are properly trained and HIPPA certified then it’s less likely your organization will be in violation. In addition it is extremely helpful to instigate annual refresher courses. This will help keep everyone up to date and mistakes in adherence will be less likely. It’s basically a way to reacquaint your staff with HIPAA guidelines.

As much as you as a Health Care professional plan ahead and study, in some cases it is almost unavoidable that an issue will arise. Therefore it is good practice to have some sort of contingency plan to help deal with instances where a possible violation has occurred.  You should have some sort incident response in place to deal with the possibility. Be ready to document and address the cause of these discrepancies, it’s an important process that will have you prepared for violations should they arise.

For more information on how you can best prepare yourself and your staff in regards to HIPAA compliance please follow this link.

How RingRx Uses New Technology to Advance On-Call Service

Do you need a better way to manage your incoming calls? More importantly does your practice suffer from problems with the way after hour acute calls are managed? The standard fall back has always been a live answering service. And for many years (since the beginning of time?) that has been the only option.

RingRx was founded to help take the inconsistencies out of the the traditional answering service. Designed to make getting your after hours/urgent calls in a user friendly, intuitive manner and to take away the problems that are inherent with any switchboard system. This is a matter of technology catching up with the need. And this is specifically why RingRx was created.

The unfortunate reality is that people make mistakes. Even the brightest among us are prone to error. Sometimes it’s a simply a matter of information being incorrectly recorded, for whatever reason. It could be as simple as the switchboard operator misunderstanding the caller. Other times it’s not knowing whether or not someone should be paged and there is some question about where the call falls in regards to the paging procedure. The bottom line is that there is too much guess work involved for a person and these discrepancies can take their toll. What inevitably ends up happening is that you end up adding more work hours onto your own day when you have to take calls that should have been held for the office.  If there were a seamless integration between the caller and the person on call then these issues would be diminished, even removed and erased all together.

RingRx offers an answer to these issues, and many others. For instance, think about the time and money that goes into having your calls routed by a traditional answering service. This is something that has been an inevitable consequence of the call center for years. There simply was no other option. But it isn’t exactly a “cheap” service. A system that can be integrated into DR PHONEEEEEEEEEEEyour phone and takes the place of the all-to-human element is beyond helpful, not to mention cost effective. It’s one of those easy decisions, like switching to a VoIP phone system. Not only is it a better service, it also saves you money.

Something unique to RingRx, and something of great value to medical professionals is our ability to encrypt patient information in a manner that avoids a HIPAA breach. RingRx makes use of an encryption technology, which by it’s very nature ensures that your messages are stored within the strict guidelines demanded by HIPAA. So it goes without saying that making sure your messages are HIPAA compliant is of the utmost importance to your practice. It isn’t something that you should have to worry about, and RingRx makes sure that you wont have to.

If you have a smartphone then you can have the convenience of RingRx on the go, anywhere. The App, that is downloadable for your phone, makes checking messages and responding to important time sensitive calls a breeze. It offers all the services provided by a traditional call center with none of the headaches. For those who want the most out of their smartphones this application is a bonus for the professional on the go.

The ability to check your messages at any time and to store them indefinitely is of course quite helpful. That way, at your own digression, you can prioritize your calls and decide how best you will respond. These features are exclusively available on the RingRx website. The time and energy spent sifting through improperly connected calls and having all of your messages stored safely and secure is an extremely satisfactory advantage to using RingRx.

The other end of the spectrum, the “meat and potatoes” as it were, is the obvious upgrade in patient care. If it’s going to make your life as a physician easier it most certainly will make the patients experience a better one as well. Just imagine a patient having to call, be put on hold, explain whats going on with themselves, and the waiting (hoping) that a doctor will soon speak with them, possibly. This process becomes streamlined with our service. There is no “middle man”. The automated call system will assist the caller in the most user friendly manner, making the experience for all intents and purposes a good one (considering the nature of the call, this cannot be overstated).

And for those people working in the Healthcare field the advantage of using RingRx in particular is the most beneficial. Indeed, no other call service approaches HIPAA compliance the way we do. The service most certainly fits the need. In addition RingRx comes with a free trial, so you can be sure it is the proper fit for your business. We also offer the most useful customer support available, we are available to answer any questions and help you in the application of our service. You only have so many hours in the day, you shouldn’t have to worry about your after hours calls and your paging service as well. Let us do that for you….

At the Crossroads

The company telephone is “growing up,” it was just a matter of time. If you want your phone to finish the transition from unruly adolescent to well mannered adult you need to switch to a VoIP system. It’s only natural.

The older systems (legacy systems) were designed to perform very specific tasks, with nothing built in to promote growth, no way to integrate new technological advances. In short, no way to evolve.

Companies nationwide (not to mention worldwide) are embracing VoIp systems and making the switch. This is not a trend, it’s a fact. And it’s not specific to only one type of company. The change to a VoIP system is something that’s being done by all types of businesses. From small self starters all the way up to the biggest corporations. From Health Care to Advertising. There are numerous advantages, not the least of which is cost effectiveness.

If you were wondericrossroads girlllllng when the right time to make the switch is, wait no longer. There has never been a better time, the pluses out weigh the negatives in every regard. So much so that there literally are no negatives.

Here are just a few of the advantages of using a VoIP system.

1. You can utilize emails, e-faxing, and even remote conferencing over the internet. This helps to promote increased mobility, the benefits of which can not be overstated.

2. It is easy to install and manage a VoIP system and requires little technical know how. In retrospect, making adjustments to older phone systems required adding separate cabling as well as additional wiring (a fire hazard). Not so with VoIP technology. It is all combined into one single network, making it easier to integrate and use.

3. Employee phone numbers can follow them wherever they go. This is extremely convenient for those people whose jobs take them out of the office.

4. The traditional call system features you are familiar with are available in hosted VoIP systems, including call holding, call transfer, conference calling, find me / follow me, and auto-attendant phone menus.

5. Cost effectiveness is one of the most obvious and important features of hosted VoIP phone systems. Legacy phone systems were expensive, very expensive. In addition, maintenance and repairs could be quite costly as well. But with VoIP systems, you save on the costs of installation and the calls themselves are considerably less expensive.

All of these points are reflected in the services provided by RingRx. Not only will your on-call and urgent calls be dealt with efficiently and professionally, the services supported by VoIP systems will also save you money. In addition, the ability to comply with HIPAA regulations is built into our phone systems and supported by VoIP technology, a unique service indeed. This all comes with very personalized customer support. At RingRx we value our clients overall experience. The technology employed is extremely user friendly, and our main goal is to make your life (the business side of it) easier.

Cloudy Conditions

Some things are glaringly obvious, like the advantages of storing information on cloud platforms. It’s a growing trend of reputable hospitals and healthcare facilities of nearly all sizes. According to the CSA (Cloud Security Alliance), cloud service providers are giving health care organizations the highest priority in regards to providing the most advanced security possible.

Of course the maincloudy condid thing here is encryption. All data, whether it is moving or at rest must be properly encrypted. Safe and secure, that’s what’s required, and as far as storing information on the cloud the importance of this is not neglected. In fact the majority of HIPAA breaches have nothing to do with a lack of security relating to cloud services. Rather it is most often a result of employee negligence. All the more reason to have your devices properly secured as well.

Storing confidential patient information on a cloud platform is not so much a choice, but rather the most secure and beneficial option available. It’s simply the next course of evolution in the business world. And the enhanced security that is integrated into the technology is as up to date as you can get. The heath care field is certainly taking full advantage of this.

http://www.ihealthbeat.org/insight/2015/health-care-is-increasingly-moving-to-the-cloud-but-how-does-security-stack-up

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