Professional woman looking into the cameraThe mental health profession can be a sensitive business, and protecting patient health care and financial data must be something all clinicians dedicate time to. Take the following patient security quiz to better understand potential areas of liability and learn strategies to improve data protection.

  1. Do you use a secure system to communicate with patients (email, text, phone, and/or video)?
  2. Are you storing patient data in local hard drives?
  3. Do you store patient financial data or credit card data in your office? (This is prohibited activity according to Visa and MC Rules and Regulations.)
  4. Are you using external hardware such as swipe machines or tools? If so, have you updated these to work with chipped cards?
  5. Is someone assisting you with billing and practice management? How are you protecting yourself with data breach in administration?
  6. Have you considered integrating merchant services and payments into a practice management system that intuitively tracks scheduling, billing, allows full file upload, handles patient records including all services, codes and diagnostics, as well as secure patient statements?
  7. Are you scheduling, billing, and documenting consultation with patients and colleagues when care coordinating?
  8. Do you securely store patient files? Have you considered using an integrative EMR system to store progress notes and patient records?
  9. Do you store a form of payment on file in a secure practice management system? Is this system encrypted and secure? (This is a top strategy to limit financial data breach.)
  10. Is your intake paperwork up to date? Does it clearly outline your services as well as all charges, policies, and procedures?
  11. Do you have proper up-to-date releases on all patients?
  12. Are patients signing new paperwork when you change policies, rates, procedures?
  13. Are you documenting all services in a patient health record, including cancellations, consultations, and emergencies?
  14. Are you sending secure patient statements? Are these generated from a password protected, encrypted practice management system?
  15. Is your physical space secure?
  16. Have you protected your hardware from intrusion and data breach?
  17. Are you performing a scheduled audit to explore ways to better secure your practice?
  18. Have you set time aside to shop and compare practice management systems and products designed to streamline and protect your business?
  19. Have you considered how consolidating manual or isolated tasks and use of separate devices in favor of consolidated practice management may save time and money, all while ensuring your patient’s data is safe? (If you have already moved to a practice management system, please ensure you request information regarding ways your technology company protects health care and financial data.)

How did you do? If you were unsure about the answers to many or most of the questions, we’re here to help. If you’re still shopping for secure, HIPAA-compliant practice management software, visit Therapy Partner online to find out how to easily and securely manage your practice.