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  Security of Patient Data  
     
 

The push for digitization of patient data for EMR (electronic medical records), the need for ongoing storage, coupled with reduction of medical errors for poorly legible physician writing and of course time constraints on writing, has prompted the push for medical transcription. This has in turn created a potential for possibility of mishandling and thereby misuse of digitized data.

Information privacy in the digital age is a serious issue.  No wonder that HIPAA laws have provisions for the security of PHI (personal health information) during electronic transfers.  There has been concerns over how secure is the transcription industry in its handling of patient data, especially when it is being outsourced. 

Physicians and hospitals frequently raise questions based on the California incident which has raised a healthy debate on the impact of outsourced transcriptions and data security.  Here is a refresher on the incident and what is done at AmScribe to avoid such situations on our end.

AmScribe is a major player in the transcription industry and is committed to HIPAA compliance and necessary security measures to maintain strict data security.

To reassure our existing clients and inform potential clients, we request you to read through the following information about the incident and the superiority of AmScribe’s information security policies.

  1. Historical basis of the California incident?
     
    A large hospital in California outsourced its transcription work to an external agency. From this agency, the work was subcontracted to various companies and was finally sent to a home based transcriptionist in Pakistan. When this transcriptionist was not paid her dues, she threatened to publish all the patient data that she had, on the internet.
       
  2. How was the issue resolved?
     
    The issue was finally settled when one of the subcontractors in the long chain agreed to pay the transcriptionist her dues.
       
  3. How real was the threat from the perpetrator?
     
    While we cannot really comment upon whether the transcriptionist really intended to publish the information that she had, what is indisputable is that she would definitely have had patient information with her.
      
  4. What can we do to prevent such incidents?
     
    The knee-jerk reaction to such an incident is to stop outsourcing! However, given the constraints under which healthcare service providers are currently operating, that is not a feasible solution.
     
    Prevention of such incidents would only happen by choosing the right outsourcing partner. One who would ensure that quality work is done, and more importantly, also ensure that security and privacy are not compromised upon.
      
  5. What is AmScribe's security policy?

    AmScribe’s security policy is designed to satisfy end-to-end security needs of its clients. At AmScribe, we employ security from a multifocal angle.

    Some of the core dimensions of our security matrix are:
      
    • Technology
    • Facilities & Infrastructure
    • People & Processes

 
     
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