Dental Office HIPAA Compliance 2022: Part 2 of our Detailed Guide to 10 Best Practices

Dental Office HIPAA Compliance 2022: Part 2 of our Detailed Guide to 10 Best Practices

A dentist carefully-reviews with the wife of the man receiving dental care via a dental assistant in the dental room in the background his current dental situation and what treatment options are available; the dentist takes care to follow dental office HIPAA compliance best practices while sharing such patient data.

Last week, we began a 2-part series on dental office HIPAA compliance (2022/2023) & best practices so you can uphold dental patient data confidentiality according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); after having covered the gravity of healthcare data breach frequencies since 2020, we’d like to re-iterate the cruciality of keeping dental record confidentiality held high –ensuring your patients feel receive a superb service that enhances their quality of life & hygienic health, also re-enforcing their trust, leading to their long-term loyalty, your long-term & positive reputation, and ensuring your business & financial success grows.

As part 4 of our overall HIPAA series, let’s focus on part 2 of dental office HIPAA compliance, observing the last 5 best practices that mitigate risk to healthcare data breaches. While we’ll cover such dental office HIPAA compliance best practices, it’s highly-worth mentioning: one vital manner to keeping dental patients’ data safe & secure is to consider outsourcing your core/non-core business processes to a HIPAA-certified call center/contact center – such as Callnovo Contact Center – to bring dental patient data protection to your organization, giving patients ease of mind & heart as they look to improve their quality of life.

Some outsourceable dental office business functions are:

  • marketing & branding,
  • front desk support,
  • patient scheduling,
  • insurance & claims,
  • dental billing,
  • general patient services,
  • general back-end office tasks, and
  • others.

Such a manner of both ensuring top-quality dental service & dental patient data confidentiality not only builds strong patient trust/long-term loyalty, but also ensures the risk of healthcare data leakage is mitigated, ensuring you evade hefty HIPAA fines, keeping your dental office’s reputation intact.

Outsourcing dental processes to a HIPAA-compliant contact center affords you the most vital advantages – such as:

  • Streamlined Backend Operations – helping your dental organization keep operations smooth, bringing you tried/tested operating methods; furthermore, you can simplify the dental billing process, quickly get you through dental insurance verification, systematically-schedule patients, securely-maintain patient accounts/records, and correctly-market in a way you acquire more patients.
  • Opening Time for Effective Practice – helping you to manage back-end operations professionally so you’ll have time on hand to handle higher-priority matters; such can be utilized to deliver quality patient care – focusing on, for example, regularly-provided treatments, and ensuring individualized attention on other crucial dental practice areas.
  • Dental Practice Efficiency Improvement – so you can spend precious time on improving the efficiency of your practices; you can focus dedicatedly on your provided services, ensuring provided treatment remains key so patients highly-value the service they receive.
  • Reduction in Excessive Costs – as hiring centralized outsourcing support is cheaper than hiring staff on-site, reducing excessive costs; such centralized support practically-operates on its own, ensuring you save on office/managerial staff expenses.
  • Revenue Augmentation – as centralized outsourcing support directly contributes to increased revenue – as:
    • effective dental billing ensures you collect all payment reimbursements in time, keeping your revenue upward,
    • comprehensive scheduling ensures you fill all seats, increasing revenue gradually/steadily,
    • quick dental insurance verification ensures your claims never get rejected, making sure you receive the money that’s deserved,
    • efficient accounting/bookkeeping ensures both expenses and income are sufficiently-managed, keeping revenue intact, and
    • cutting-edge marketing strategies ensure you acquire additional, new patients and retain older ones, likewise increasing revenue.

Since we’ve taken a look at the advantages to dental practice outsourcing, let’s get into the remaining dental office HIPAA compliance best practices your dental office can take to ensure dental patients’ data is kept confidential and that such data is protected in accordance with HIPAA rules & regulations.

Part 2: Dental Office HIPAA Compliance Best Practices (BPs)

BP #6: Run a Risk Analysis

According to §164.308(a)(1)(ii)(A) of HIPAA’s risk analysis section, running a risk analysis and providing such info. to HIPAA is a key part of dental office HIPAA compliance. A risk analysis is an accurate, thorough analysis of all electronic assets your dental practice uses to create, maintain, and/or transmit PHI; specifically-speaking, risks analysis evaluate potential vulnerabilities – as well as threats – also assessing the likelihood and severity of risks.

Here’s a summary of HIPAA’s implementation requirements:

  • Risk Analysis – your dental office must accurately, thoroughly assess potential risks & vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI held by each covered entity & business associate.
  • Risk Management – your dental business must implement concrete security measures sufficient to reduce risks & vulnerabilities at an appropriate/reasonable level in compliance with §164.306(a).
  • Sanction Policy – your dental company must appropriately sanction associated employees when they fail to comply with security policies & procedures.
  • Information System Activity Review – Your dental practice must implement procedures to regularly-review information system activity records – such as: audit logs, access reports, security incident tracking reports.

Additionally, it’s important to put into action a risk management plan – covered under §164.308(a)(1)(ii)(B)) – essentially allowing better compliance based on your analysis assessments.

BP #7: Incident Response Plan

While health data breaches are serious, your dental office must remember it won’t be the 1st – nor the last – to experience a breach. As such, a calm, collected response (which we’ll further elaborate on below) is key to handling such a dire situation. That’s why having an incident response plan (IRP) – a set of procedures/protocols to follow in the event of any data breach or other security incident – is important. Ensure such a plan is customized for your specific needs and that it’s always up-to-date.

BP #8: Proactively Answer Pre-screening Questionnaires Early

Coming back to audits, whenever it’s necessary for your dental business to speak with HIPAA auditors, you’ll moat likely need to answer the OCR’s official pre-screening questionnaire – as displayed on their website.

Here’s detailed data for completing the questionnaire:

  • The questionnaire can be electronically-saved and completed later if you don’t have time to complete it in one sitting; to complete it later, you can access it via a link sent to the associated email.
  • The questionnaire is divided into 4 parts:
    • instructions,
    • contact/entity info.,
    • questions, and
    • review & submit.
  • Contact/Entity info. Section – the info. must be reviewed/updated as needed & all fields are required; if the info. isn’t provided in its entirety, a notification will display which info. is missing – and, this will need to be provided before continuing.
  • Questionnaire Section – every question must be answered before heading to the Review & Submit section; if they are not, likewise a notification will show what info. is missing and/or what questions are missing answers.
  • Review & Submit Section – All previously-provided info. will be displayed; you must scroll to the bottom, select “Print,” and then either print or store the responses as a private copy. To change any response, you can click the “Questionnaire” tab at the top of the page, submitting your changes. Once you submit the final questionnaire through this section, you cannot return and change any data – so, thoroughly-check all responses before finishing up.

BP #9: Practice Conducting Audits

As the last section on audits, it’s important to get audit practice in to have this down pat. We’re assuming your business has now familiarized itself with the OCR’s auditing process – as well as how to fill out the above-mentioned questionnaire. Now, it’s time to practice auditing. Based on what’s been learned from BP #4, most audits will be “desk audits” – referring to how auditors review documentation remotely; as such, they most likely won’t visit your practice in person.

Don’t fully trust in this, though; on-site audits can and do happen – and, such audits take 3-5 days depending on your dental office’s size. Likewise, such on-site audits are more comprehensive, covering a wider range of HIPAA requirements. Do your best to practice audits for either scenario. The best audit practice to hold is by running a series of role-play scenarios – which should have your staff:

  • take turns asking/responding to questions about the OCR’s audit protocol,
  • find answers to audit-related questions found within your compliance documentation, and
  • demonstrate your dental office’s HIPAA compliance.

BP #10: Refrain from Panicking

Lastly, as mentioned above, let’s elaborate more on panic restraint – especially during any risk of being fined for HIPAA violations. Every week, some healthcare organization is being massively-fined due to HIPAA violations of some sort; this can even occur because of celebrities. Although HIPAA fines are steadily-increasing, don’t panic; HIPAA laws exist to protect patient data – and make your dental office/practice better. As such, do your best to comply with dental practice HIPAA compliance rules & regulations – and, you’ll be in a great position to protect your business and ensure your dental patients continually-confide in your business, leading to their long-term loyalty, your long-term reputation being kept intact, and ensuring higher business & financial success within the industry.

Part 1: Dental Office HIPAA Compliance Best Practices (BPs)

For a review of part 1 of this series, please feel free to access the following link: Dental Office HIPAA Compliance 2022: 10 Best Practices (Part 1).

Callnovo Contact Center – a HIPAA-certified Call Center

Callnovo Contact Center has received the HIPAA Seal of Compliance Certificate, officially qualifying them as a HIPAA-compliant call center/contact center.As mentioned above, considering outsourcing to a HIPAA-compliant & HIPAA-certified call center is crucial to ensuring your dental office benefits from HIPAA-qualified patient data confidentiality; Callnovo Contact Center – an 18+ year tenure outsourcing expert, with experience in 40+ industries (including in dental practice outsourcing), providing superb solutions to approx. 1,500 global corporations & Fortune 500 companies – guarantees healthcare businesses/organizations can securely store/maintain patient data confidentiality throughout its lifecycle so patients can remain at ease, knowing their data is safe. As a HIPAA-certified call center, Callnovo intricately-monitors the handling of healthcare patient data to ensure there’s no data leakage nor risk of data breaches.

Following HIPAA’s rules & regulations, Callnovo:

  • upholds HIPAA’s privacy rules by ensuring patients’ data is properly-protected while allowing required data for the provision/promotion of top-quality health care to flow smoothly, protecting public/private health & patients’ well-being,
  • works closely/continually with healthcare providers, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates acting on behalf of covered entities – including claims processing, data analysis, utilization review, and billing – to ensure patient data is safely secured, only accessible by authorized personnel, and
  • vigorously-protects identifiable health info. transmitted/maintained in every form (electronic, oral, or written) by covered entities/business associates (excluding certain educational/employment records).

As a global, reputable omnichannel/multilingual outsourcing leader, Callnovo likewise upholds the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure European customers’ personal data is kept confidential.

With Callnovo, your dental office can enjoy additional key advantages – such as:

  • High-quality Expertise – quality service personnel skilled in areas as:
    • customer-centric enthusiasm/service attitude,
    • strong communication skills,
    • customer service soft-skills,
    • intuitive logical thinking skills,
    • complex product/service knowledge, and
    • acute management/operations skills.
  • Always-available Service – maximizing customer satisfaction/CX by continually-meeting customers’ needs without limits.
  • Omnichannel Support – accessible, rapid, always-ready support through all channels, leading to enhanced CX, influencing long-term brand ambassadorship/loyalty.
  • Native Language Support – meeting customers’ needs efficiently, conforming to cultural expectations, improving customer loyalty.

Conclusion

It’s direly-important that your dental practice ensure patients’ dental records/data are kept secure. To carefully-comply with HIPAA, we encourage you to practice our list of dental office HIPAA compliance best practices to ensure dental patients’ data is kept safe and patients can rest at ease, knowing their data isn’t being given into the wrong hands. Furthermore, we highly encourage you to consider partnering with Callnovo Contact Center – a HIPAA-certified call center – to ensure your patients receive superb care – and fully trust you to keep their data secure, minimizing the risk of healthcare data breaches.

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