Green Doctor Means a More Private Doctor

So it seems your doctor has made the switch to green and now has almost all of their patient, doctor, and even financial information stored digitally. That’s great news! It means that your doctor cares about the environment and leaving a smaller carbon footprint. He will also probably save lots of money just on paper costs alone. Now you are probably reading this thinking, that’s nice that my doctor has turned into an environmentally-conscious person, but what does that do for me? It means several things for you, actually, all of them good.

First, since document imaging makes a digital copy of your information, your doctor can retrieve your personal health information (also called simply PHI) much more quickly than trying to find your hard copy in a maze of filing cabinets. He or she can just pull the information up on a nearby terminal and print or otherwise access it from there. This means less time spent in the waiting room for everyone and faster attention once you arrive.

RecordsThis point probably arouses a few suspicions of its own, though. How could making my information more easily accessible possibly protect my doctor-patient confidentiality, or better yet, my identity? Who or what is going to keep my information from being just emailed over to the highest bidder? Thankfully the government itself has taken steps to ensure patient identity and personal health information remains confidential and strictly on a need-to-know basis, with a relatively short list of those who need-to-know. This was done by the means of the HIPAA, established in 1996.

HIPAA, meaning the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, established several rules for the use and disclosure of personal health information. It states that many entities, like health insurance companies, your health care providers, and government health plans like Medicare are required by law to ensure the privacy of your information. This means everything from your billing information and private doctor-patient conversations to medical history. The means by which they protect this information are rather extensive too, which is a good thing for us. These entities must actually have a written contract with the people who employ them before they make any information disclosure. When they do, there is another law which states that only the absolute minimum amount of information needed to accomplish a procedure or task may be provided. Every effort possible is made to keep your information private and your trust intact. So if you trust your doctors with your personal information, and they trust document scanning with all that they do, don’t you think it’s time you gave document imaging a try too?