By securely storing files in a central, electronic repository, HR departments can more easily control and track access to sensitive data
Dalla, TX (PRWEB) January 27, 2012
PaperErasers, Inc. a premier provider of online document management and scanning services, today announced it's offering of an HR module to address the growing challenges HR professionals face with HIPAA laws.
Running an HR department has it’s challenges, but more than ever, the U.S. government is pursing violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), putting more pressure on HR leaders to ensure their record keeping processes are in compliance. This elevated level of enforcement and increased risk of penalties has resulted in more HR departments turning to paperless solutions to ease their document management burden. PaperErasers, Inc is offering a solution, designed through years of working with HR leaders, to store and track employee records in a paperless environment.
A Costly and Embarrassing Reminder to Protect Information
In the spring of 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services imposed a civil money penalty of $4.3 million on Cignet Health of Prince George's County, MD, for violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. In February, 2011 The General Hospital Corporation and Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Inc. (Mass General) agreed to pay the U.S. government $1,000,000 to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
While the circumstances of these violations may not apply to everyone, the penalty sends all HR leaders a clear reminder that they need to be vigil when complying with laws and regulations affecting record keeping. As it is, even in the largest companies, HR functions such as employee administration, payroll and legal remain costly and inefficient, thanks in large part to the tremendous amount of paper involved. HIPAA creates even more record keeping challenges for businesses that sponsor a health care plan and have more than 50 employees. Under those circumstances, records are required to be stored in a secure environment where access to personal health information (PHI) can be limited to authorized staff.
Although the HIPAA law doesn’t apply to employers that don’t self-insure and have fewer than 50 employees, they could still be at risk of other violations and cost revenue. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) strictly requires that confidential medical information only be disclosed on a "need-to-know" basis. To help protect themselves from privacy claims related to ADA, many employers use separate or paperless filing systems for personnel records and health related information.
In fact, many companies maintain a separate personnel file, I9 file, EEO file, medical file and workers' compensation file for each of its employees to streamline auditing. What concerns HR professionals most is that even with the best procedures in place, the unsecured nature of paper makes it difficult to ensure compliance with HIPAA and other laws and regulations.
It's simply too easy for sensitive information to inadvertently be exposed through poor decisions by employees. The Mass General case, for example, resulted from an employee leaving sensitive information on the public transit system. Open file room doors, unlocked filing cabinet, unsecured copy machines, an employee’s desk with a paper pile are so common and can result in big losses for a company.
A Better Approach to Protect Data
To mitigate risks associated with protecting health-related information -- and to streamline their overall paper-driven processes -- more HR departments are deploying electronic or online document solutions to capture, store, manage and retrieve employee files. “By securely storing files in a central, electronic repository, HR departments can more easily control and track access to sensitive data”, says Don Hunter, Vice President of Operations with PaperErasers, Inc. In these systems access to health-related information can be restricted to authorized individuals who have a “need-to-know”.
A company can also restrict permission by person, information type (e.g. data field), and/or task (e.g. read only). Unlike paper management processes, online document management solutions also ensure that health records have not been altered or destroyed in an unauthorized manner. Moreover, the solutions provide authorized users with secure, instant access to sensitive information (like medical records), while tracking the activity of each user.
Other benefits of a paperless document management system include:
- Protects sensitive information from inadvertent exposure
- Ability to use affordable desktop scanners or existing multi-function devices for converting paper documents to electronic formats
- Saving space by eliminating a need for separate storage rooms or file cabinets
- No duplicated documents circulating around an office
- Simplified filing with no chance of lost or misplaced documents
- Better access to employee records for internal or external audits
The Bottom Line
Complying with HIPAA regulations is a challenge for HR departments. Government agencies are getting tougher on violations and a paper filing system puts companies at their greatest risk.
Tired of costly and risky paper driven processes, more HR professionals are turning to online document management solutions to improve their compliance processes, as well as the overall efficiency of their other paper intensive processes. Through these efforts, HR professionals can take a critical role in ensuring their organization's HIPAA compliance, in turn, protecting their organization from potentially costly and embarrassing security incidents. PaperErasers, Inc. offers a robust HR module that can relieve the burden of HR managers while they work to comply with HIPAA laws, save space, time and money.
PaperErasers is the most comprehensive online document management service that allows businesses and households to reduce paper workload by more than 90%. Users can quickly and easily capture, manage, archive, retrieve, and distribute mission-critical documents, eliminating the need for filing cabinets, storage facilities, scanner-copiers, fax machines, and paper files. Users can also take advantage of the Paperless Mail service to capture data and eliminate the workload involved in going paperless. PaperErasers operates out of Dallas, TX. For more information visit http://www.PaperErasers.com or call 1-888-614-2510.