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Facing April 20 HIPAA Security Rules, Many Physicians Lack Data Backup Plans and Access Controls, MedSynergies Reports

Facing April 20 HIPAA Security Rules, Many Physicians Lack Data Backup Plans and Access Controls, MedSynergies Reports

DALLAS, March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Facing an April 20 deadline on new federal health information security standards, many small physician practices face gaps in three key areas, according to MedSynergies.

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Many small practices use older practice management software systems that have not been upgraded to comply with the new law, according to Judi McClain, who supervises HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance for the company.

Dallas-based MedSynergies, which provides financial and technology services to 660 physicians in 23 states, compiled a list of common security problems facing small practices (less than five physicians) in meeting the upcoming regulations. The three key problems are:

1. Lack of Data Back-up Plan. In many practices, the office's medical data is backed-up on a tape drive connected to the main computer. In some cases, tapes are stored at the provider's office. The new HIPAA Security Standards require that the provider be able to access the data in case of an emergency so operations can continue. Continuing to store back-up tapes at the provider's office is not an option. In the ideal situation, the provider would back up data at a secure, remote facility.

2. Lack of access controls. The new HIPAA standards require that all users of medical information systems at a medical office have a two-step log-in. Each user must have a unique user ID and secure password. This is similar to the two-step process required for most online financial transactions. However, many older practice management systems do not require a password or allow users to login with a common, shared username and password.

3. No Audit controls. The new standards require that the office's practice management software system keep a detailed record of who has logged-on to the system and what data they have accessed or changed. This is necessary in case confidential medical data is accidentally transmitted to the wrong address or inappropriately modified.

The HIPAA laws take effect in stages and are designed to streamline data exchange and provide better safeguards for patient information.

MedSynergies integrates leading software programs into the daily operations of medical practices. Founded in 1996, MedSynergies serves medical groups, hospitals, surgical centers, rehabilitation centers and IPAs. Based in Dallas, TX, the company has regional offices in Orlando, FL; Little Rock, AR and Philadelphia. See http://www.medsynergies.com/.

Contact: Christopher Tammen Company: MedSynergies Phone: 972-791-1224 x1206 Email: [email protected] Contact: Jim Harris Company: Westside Public Relations Phone: 310-398-5565 Email: [email protected]


CONTACT: Christopher Tammen of MedSynergies, +1-972-791-1224 x1206,
[email protected], or Jim Harris of Westside Public Relations,
+1-310-398-5565, [email protected], for MedSynergies

Web site: http://www.medsynergies.com/

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