Throughout the last 3 years (2019-2022), countries most affected by COVID-19 have been realizing more so than ever that life is very fragile and to be highly-cherished; as a result, countries – such as the United States – have seen a gradual increase year-by-year in hospital admissions, physician & doctor visits – and, even healthcare insurance claims. For the healthcare industry – specifically in the U.S. – as patient visits enter into the millions (a close average of practically 893.40 million+ combined hospital admissions & physician visits alike in the U.S. alone), there’s a grand responsibility meet HIPAA call center requirements and fully-ensure superb healthcare that brings patients to full health so they can enjoy a quality of life that brings long-term enjoyment on this side of eternity – as well as fully-insure them so they can trust their healthcare data is safely-kept confidential and the risk of their patient data being breached is being kept low.
According to Callnovo’s recent article on 9 benefits of HIPAA compliance for healthcare patients:
“healthcare data breach costs – having risen by around 42% since 2020 – account for approximately US$ 10.10 million dollars as of November 2022, meaning: US$ millions are being spent each year to recover data and/or improve critical healthcare infrastructure.”
This very-real statistic shows the current vulnerability in healthcare technology – as well as the current healthcare system; to combat the high risk of endangerment to patients’ lives via the unauthorized sharing of their data and/or unlawful data breaches, it’s highly-necessary for healthcare providers to seriously-comply with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)’s acute data protection regulations that strictly protect patients’ sensitive health information from being disclosed without their consent. Accordingly, HIPAA compliance provides key advantages to healthcare providers and other entities handling sensitive healthcare data – such benefits as:
- patient privacy,
- patient safety,
- trust fostering amongst patients,
- reputation preservation,
- meeting insurance reqs.,
- penalty & fine avoidance,
- provision of knowledge to patients concerning data breaches,
- data information security, and
- meeting industry standards.
To ensure HIPAA compliance, build patient trust within your business, and secure healthcare data, instilling a sense of peace in your patients, leading to even higher quality of life as you provide stellar patient care – especially if your business is planning on outsourcing its core and/or non-core business functions – let’s go through, as part 2 of our series on HIPAA, 4 key HIPAA call center requirements in terms of correct compliance, as well as how to choose a HIPAA compliant call center that helps bring healthcare data protection to your organization and gives your patients ease of mind and heart as they look to improve their own quality of life; we’ll then introduce you to Callnovo Contact Center – a HIPAA-certified call center / contact center – so you, as an outsourcing business, can secure patients’ healthcare data while ensuring your company builds strong rapport with healthcare patients, leading to strong, long-term brand loyalty and a reputable brand reputation as you compete against the industry’s leading healthcare providers.
Let’s get started – beginning with HIPAA call center requirements.
HIPAA Call Center Requirements
HIPAA-complaint contact centers are those that submit under HIPAA – stipulating guidelines that any & every business or organization that collects protected health information (PHI) are required to follow. HIPAA-compliant call centers will most undoubtedly follow measures that determine how exactly PHI is handled according to specific HIPAA rules/regulations; an example is: how PHI is recorded via communication channels, as well as how such recordings are shared with 3rd parties. As such, let’s go through 4 different HIPAA call center requirements below.
Call centers functioning in conjunction with healthcare providers must keep PHI encrypted throughout the storage process and during transmission. Any healthcare data transmitted between 2 or more employees – or from the call center to a 3rd party – must be protected. The best method to protect patient data during transmission is via a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Another requirement of the HIPAA call center requirements is: all personnel handling PHI must be thoroughly-trained in HIPAA compliance so they may know what PHI is and how to handle it – as well as the consequences of failing to comply with HIPAA regulations.
Call center personnel should understand:
- how to properly collect, store, and transmit PHI,
- what the HIPAA security safeguards are – as well as how to implement them, and
- the penalties for HIPAA violations.
This training can be provided in-house or via an external vendor.
Contact centers should strictly control who can access patient & healthcare information – which includes physical & electronic access; physical access to patient data should be restricted to authorized personnel only. Likewise, regarding electronic access, strict controls should be put in place to properly-ensure concrete password protection & data encryption.
For call centers to complete the enforcement of HIPAA call center requirements, they must have security measures in place to protect healthcare data from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure – which include physical, technical, and administrative safeguards.
Let’s go through each:
- Physical safeguards protect patient info. from unauthorized physical access, destruction, or tampering; such types of physical safeguards are: locked doors, locked file cabinets, security cameras, and alarm systems.
- Technical safeguards involve: technology to protect healthcare & patient data from unauthorized access – including such things as: firewalls, data encryption, and password protection.
- Finally, administrative safeguards include: employee training & security awareness programs.
How to Choose a HIPAA Compliant Call Center
While healthcare providers have various ways in which they can keep healthcare data confidential, if your healthcare organization is planning on outsourcing at all, they should consider call centers that follow the below-mentioned guidelines – which most definitely will give you an idea on how to choose a HIPAA compliant call center:
- HIPAA compliant call centers recruit & hire thoroughly-screened professionals: this prevents any type of internal leakage of sensitive data; to help you decide, ask your prospective contact center options details regarding their screening process – specifically regarding customer service representatives that handle channel volume on behalf of healthcare providers.
- HIPAA compliant call centers are flexible: this means that HIPAA-compliant call centers have the flexibility to work with your healthcare provider to develop tailored procedures/policies that ensure your business needs are successfully-met.
- HIPAA compliant contact centers ensure data is tightly-encrypted: such outsourcing providers utilize fireproof encryption on computers, smartphones, and other devices that contain healthcare patients’ data, preventing personal data from leaking to hackers – or, in the case of an accidental breach via devices’ basic security systems – safeguarding such data from further leakage.
- HIPAA compliant call centers regularly-conduct security assessments: this ensures there aren’t any gaps in privacy services.
- HIPAA compliant contact centers implement concrete, functional disaster recovery plans: if any catastrophic events befall such an outsourced service provider, a complete disaster recovery plan (DR) will ensure all yours – and your patients’ – confidential data remains secure, also allowing it to be safely restored & retrieved.
- HIPAA compliant call centers’ management and staff are accurately and thoroughly provided on-going HIPAA training: as such, all personnel are kept up-to-date on current practices & regulations.
Callnovo Contact Center – a HIPAA-certified Call Center
For your HIPAA-compliant and HIPAA-certified call center selection options, we’d like to highlight Callnovo Contact Center – an 18+ year tenure call center outsourcing expert with experience in 40+ industries, providing superb solutions to close to 1,500 global corporations & Fortune 500 companies. Callnovo guarantees businesses/organizations within the healthcare industry can securely store patient data – as well as maintain such data confidential – so healthcare patients can remain at ease, knowing their data is safe. As a HIPAA-certified contact center, Callnovo intricately-monitors the handling of healthcare patient data to ensure there’s no leakage of data nor any risk of data breaches.
Following HIPAA’s rules & regulations, Callnovo:
- upholds HIPAA’s privacy rules by ensuring patients’ health info. is properly-protected while allowing the healthcare data required for the provision and 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 all patient data is safely secured, only accessible by authorized personnel so as to maintain patient data confidentiality while ensuring the best healthcare support, and
- vigorously-protects identifiable health info. transmitted/maintained in every form (electronic, oral, or written) by covered entities and/or their business associates (excluding certain educational/employment records).
Furthermore, as a global, omnichannel, multilingual outsourcing leader with a strong reputation, Callnovo likewise upholds the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure all European customers’ personal data is likewise kept confidential, ensuring they receive the quality service they need – regardless of the industry niche – while providing peace of mind and ease of heart.
With Callnovo, businesses such as your own in the healthcare industry 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.
As hospital admissions, physician visits, doctors visits, healthcare insurance claims, etc. rise, it’s direly-important for your business as a healthcare provider to ensure the confidentiality of patients’ healthcare records and data. If your business is planning on outsourcing its core and/or non-core business functions, then you should probably consider a HIPAA-compliant call center that takes data confidentiality very seriously. So you know how to choose a HIPAA compliant call center for such data security and patient protection needs, we’ve included HIPAA compliant call center requirements, as well as the guidelines that HIPAA compliant contact centers follow, to help you make the right decision. Likewise, we encourage you to consider partnering with a HIPAA-certified call center – such as Callnovo Contact Center – to ensure that patients receive superb care – and that they’ll fully trust your business to keep their data secure and to minimize the risk that such data would be breached/released without their consent.