As you may or may not know, the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (known as HIPAA) has newer laws that took effect September 23, 2013.
If we collect Personal Health Information (PHI), from your callers, these new laws will affect the way in which we can deliver your messages.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines PHI as individually identifiable health information. Individually identifiable health information is that which can be linked to a particular person. Specifically, this information can relate to:
- The individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,
- The provision of health care to the individual, or,
- The past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual.
Common identifiers of health information include names, social security numbers, addresses, and birth dates.
The HIPAA Security Rule applies to individual identifiable health information in electronic form or electronic protected health information (ePHI). It is intended to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI when it is stored, maintained or transmitted.
As a result, if your messages contain PHI, we will no longer be able to send these messages via email, text or fax, as under the new HIPAA laws these transmission methods are considered unsecured. The only ways that you can receive such messages from AnswerFirst are to retrieve them via our secured web portal (Client Web Access), via telephone call or via our secure messaging app.