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Ensuring Your Print Environment is HIPAA Compliant

When talking about the medical industry and personal records, you are required by law to make sure that all of your documents are safely secured. The Department of Health and Human Services (Also known as DHHS) has mandated that all copiers, printers, fax machines, and workstations be secured and maintained according to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility) regulations.

According to the U.S. (DHHS), “The [HIPAA Privacy] Rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization.”
This means that health care facilities must remain HIPAA compliant across hundreds, if not thousands, of their printers that are scattered across various buildings and locations. Unfortunately, with the threat of a possible data breach growing every year due to technological advances, these facilities need to make sure that they are current with their digital security. Data is showing that securing these devices tend to get overlooked when implementing HIPAA compliant policies because they were misunderstood.

Here are four ways to make sure your office is HIPAA compliant:

  • Locking Down Paper Trays – You have probably gotten into the habit of locking your prescription in a box when not in use but what about when it just sits in the printer paper tray? You run the risk of it being picked up by someone else if your printer isn’t in a secure or monitored location. When you lock your paper trays, you eliminate this problem. Having this in place becomes even more imperative if you have multiple printers placed in “convenient” locations for staff but also accessible to anyone walking down the hallway.
  • Hard Drive Security – For those that don’t know your printer is capable of storing an incredible amount of data on its internal hard drive. This sensitive information can be easily accessible by hackers if you don’t take proper steps to secure your information. First, make sure to keep your printer hard drives encrypted. Second, make sure that before you replace your hard drive or your machine; take the time to erase your information before recycling it. Finally, make sure that you store unused printer hard drives in a secure location.
  • Using Secure Print Software –Instead of just sending a document to the printer next door or on the floor above you, use Kyocera’s private printing.  Secure print software gives you that extra level of protection because it forces the intended recipient to tell the printer to release the print job. Verification can be a badge, your ID scanner, or a personal password entered into the printer. Having the right printer device in place eliminates unsupervised sensitive information sitting in your paper tray.
  • Device tracking and Management – This last method really just encompasses everything we’ve already covered above and more. It is a major challenge when juggling thousands of print devices all across your facility. Staying compliant in the medical industry is complicated because devices can get relocated, replaced, upgraded, and retired fairly regularly. When this happens, you then have to perform a series of to-dos to make sure they meet the necessary standards. Don’t just hand this task off to any copier dealer especially if they are new to the industry.

Don’t open yourself up to any legal liability just because you failed to protect confidential information the right way. Give one of our professionals a call today to find out how we can help you secure your network and print environment to ensure HIPAA compliance.

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