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HIPAA Compliant Answering Service Equipment and Technology Guide

Posted on 25 September 2014 | 1:52 pm by


Not all BPO or answering service companies can provide HIPAA standards. There are cheaper service plans on several phone system and answering service companies, but they fail to comply with HIPAA protocols. Those that run HIPAA compliant answering service teams have higher priced plans compared to standard services. The pricing vary based on the volume of calls that you expect and additional features you need within the system.

For any healthcare answering service system, it’s important to comply with security standards to protect your hospital, doctors and patient’s medical information. HIPAA Compliant Answering Service companies have security protocols on electronic health information (ePHI) to follow as described on HIPAA Act. This covers all communication lines; email, SMS, paging, faxes, transfer of patient information from one hospital to another, and other media. It also requires all equipment and software to comply with security standards, and put security as a priority at all times. This included workstations, computers, operating systems, phones, and auditing tools. All computers or devices must have comprehensive malware, and antivirus software to secure all activities within workstations. The entire network where all employees use within work should also be protected by security layers and firewalls.    

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If you have found your top company choices, you should inquire further about their operations and processes. For equipment and technology standards, here’s a brief list on what you should look for on HIPAA Compliant Answering Service companies.

HIPAA Technical Requirements for Employees, Management and Operations

  • Each medical officer involved should have unique user identification. IT and management should have unique usernames and passwords on all tools, software and workstations. IT personnel should constant assess risks and implement regular changes on passwords from time to time
  • There should be emergency access on databases. For situations that personnel cannot login with their regular passwords due to technical problems, IT and security personnel should have proper procedure in resolving the situation fast and securely. Likewise, if the access link to a health and patient database goes down, there should be a secured backup link.  

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  • Automatic log off protocol. All employees log ins and log offs should be recorded. In case someone forgets to log off, the system should have automatic log-off protocol based on session inactivity.
  • Encryption on all communication media. All software, admin tools and communication lines should be secured and encrypted. HIPAA compliant answering services company should comply with newest security protocols and technology
  • Secured Audit Controls. All operations should have secured and HIPAA compliant hardware and software for auditing calls. This included headsets, phone lines, auditing software and workstations.
  • Authentication Process. All employees and management should comply with authentication processes for those who are inquiring and in need of access to medical information.
  • Secured facility. Inquire about the security measured implemented within their offices. They should have adequate equipment to monitor activities, prevent unauthorized access, theft and devices against tampering of equipment.
  • Workstation Security. Most of the transactions will occur within workstations of medical officers. HIPAA answering service companies should have measures to safeguard access against tampering of computers and communication lines. 

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