Some PHI of the patients were mistakenly faxed from Fort Worth’s Seven Doctor’s office. They faxed the documents to the wrong number. The information in the faxed documents was very important as it included the names, SS numbers, and the date of births, medical histories and much more. Such mistakes can send the information of the patients in the wrong hands to commit frauds. In this case, the error was the wrongly sent emails to WFAA.
The information received by WFAA was about 28 patients that should be sent to Baylor Surgicare. The main reason was that, the fax number of both the organizations was almost same. The only difference was of one digit. About the issue, the management of seven doctor’s offices was contacted and notified about the problem and the received faxes were wasted in a secure manner. But the case shows that transferring the information is very simple and easy, even if it is done at wrong fax number.
It is fact that all such incidents does not shoe the violence of HIPAA rules. Although, the medical data of the patients can be used for the criminal acts like the frauds, the extortion and the blackmailing. Normally, organizations use fax system to pass the medical records of the patients in the USA. Even in some cases, the doctors need to send the information of their patients to other experts and for this purpose, they use faxes as it is the most convenient and rapid means of transferring the information. The above mentioned case shows that the mean of communication is convenient and fast, but it is not so much secure.
The faxes may be wrongly operated and the PHI of patients can be stuck on the fax machines and the unauthorized people can access that information easily. Still, faxes are used to communicate the information between two organizations. Sending the PHI of patients in encrypted form is also useful and a safe mode. Secure text messaging platform by HIPAA complaint is a useful mean for this purpose. In order to make the procedure securer, you can add the authentication check so that you can be sure that the information is received by right recipient.
Pagers and faxes have been serving to the healthcare companies from many years, although the new means of communication are cost effective. These means also assure the privacy of the information.