Why health care providers have to use archiving for complete compliance

October 09, 2015 by Jatheon

Why health care providers have to use archiving
for complete compliance

There is a major push for more modern systems in the healthcare industry in recent years, with everything from requirements for electronic health record storage to many providers realizing the power of electronic payment options. However, certain areas of improvement in terms of digital communications and the secure storage of those conversations are sometimes overlooked. Health care providers and facilities have to consider a modern, powerful archiving solution to retain unstructured digital communications like emails and instant messaging chat logs and remain compliant with HIPAA and other relevant laws and regulations.

Dealing with protected health information
While there’s no comprehensive requirement for health care organizations to archive every single message that passes through its servers, regulations cover many of the messages sent on a daily basis. HIPAA rules mandate the storage of unstructured digital communication related to online transactions and protected health information. Many providers communicate with patients on one level or another digitally. The broad definition of protected health information means it’s simply more effective to apply a strong, broad and automated but unobtrusive archiving system than attempt to save communications on an individual basis. The alternative – relying on individual staff members to properly store HIPAA-eligible emails in perpetuity – simply isn’t a realistic or effective long-term solution.

“Archiving is an important consideration for health care providers.”

Effective storage, access, and recall
The most visible elements of a strong archiving solution – like secure storage and a partner that provides continuous monitoring and support – are crucial to success in this area, but aren’t the only types of functionality needed. Health care providers also need to follow specific regulations related to records retention, which means the archiving solution must have the framework for following rule sets and implementing new ones in the future should those requirements change. A focus on compliance above and beyond the general archiving of all emails, chats and other forms of digital communication eventually pays off.

Indexing and retrieval are another important aspects of archiving to consider. Complete, secure records only hold so much value if it’s difficult or time-consuming to find specific messages requested for an audit. With a strong indexing function that renders unstructured data into a searchable archive, worries about compliance with sometimes tight deadlines related to regulatory and legal needs can be left behind. Archiving is an important consideration for health care providers, and finding the most effective system can make a very significant difference.

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