Unfortunately, one of the biggest shortcomings we see when working with healthcare organizations is a lack of attention to the role that printing technology plays in HIPAA compliance. In fact, office printing technology is often the weakest link in an organization’s HIPAA compliance efforts. Here are three ways you can improve the security of your print fleet and move closer to HIPAA compliance.
Note: This post is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.
Secure physical access
Where your devices are located should be your first consideration. Ideally, your devices should be in a location where they are only accessible to team members who are authorized to see protected information. Creating different spheres of access for HIPAA-regulated information will prevent inadvertent exposure to non-approved team members.
Hard Drive Destruction/Removal
Most multifunctional printers, copiers and fax machines have hard drives that store images of the documents you print, scan or fax. Unfortunately, this can often create security vulnerabilities. When your device is returned to a leasing company, disposed of, or sold, there is a risk that someone could the images on that hard drive. There are two steps you can take to prevent this. First, use encryption to secure access these images. Second, when you finish using your device or the hard drive within it, make sure to wipe the hard drive and/or destroy it.
If you are leasing your device, ask your office technology provider what their policy is for hard drive security. Usually, vendors working with healthcare organizations have a special selection of printers that meet HIPAA security standards and a policy about destroying used hard drives.
Secure print release
Secure print release offers another form of security, especially if restricting physical access to shared devices is impossible. With secure print release, you can set up your printers to only print documents when someone enters their individual access code or swipes a security badge/fob.
Is your office technology the weakest link in your HIPAA compliance? We are ready to help! Our team of healthcare document management experts will audit your current processes and develop a custom solution to maximize the security of your documents. Get in touch by filling out our contact form or calling us at 612-861-4000.