Keep your patient’s information protected and your dental practice thriving!
As information — especially sensitive information — is being handled in new spaces apart from the traditional paper files and is now being processed primarily electronically, the safety and security of patient records is a foundation in good practice management. And while this is true of health records and specific dental procedures, it’s also important to examine the role of dental billing and patient privacy.
At EZ Dental Billing, we provide a myriad of services to accommodate and enhance your insurance account receivables — from dental billing and claim submission to dental insurance verification. Explore more on dental billing and security in today’s post.
The cost of our personal information is at an all-time high, so it’s no wonder that people and companies are working around the clock to obtain sensitive information — stolen records and stolen identities are the cost for some.
It’s vital, as a dental practice, to not only be aware of these risks but to take action in preventing access to your patient’s personal files and protecting them and your business from those who want to steal information.
Health care entities, including dental clinics, is the single most targeted industry in the US that make up one-third of all data breaches. As we’ve transitioned to electronic patient files cybersecurity has become more essential in healthcare, and since 2009, the US Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that roughly 21 million patient records have been jeopardized.
What does this mean for your dental practice?
While you likely have some security protocols in place, now may be the time to invest in the safety and security of your practice a little more seriously. We always think that it will never happen to us but in an age where technology is swiftly evolving, those who don’t take proactive steps in protecting their dental clinic are vulnerable to an information breach.
So, what can you do to make your practice more secure?
First and foremost is ensuring that your dental practice is HIPAA compliant. Once you have some parameters around how you’re sending and receiving patient information, you can take additional measures such as:
- Back up your files daily
- Ensure every computer has a login and is locked when not in use
- Consider a cloud-based management system
- Keep your computers away from patients and ensure they’re unable to read the screens in the waiting room or exam areas
- Use a reputable antivirus software from a trusted source
- Establish a secure wi-fi connection
- Limit the ability for staff to download programs and software
While there are those who want to break into a system, it’s also important to deter the more human side of security breaches. How often do employees simply throw away sensitive documents or use company laptops for personal use? Sometimes it’s the little adjustments we can make that will make the largest impact on protecting our patients.
Where does practice management and dental billing come in?
It’s an important piece of practice management to explain and reiterate at weekly meetings, the importance of keeping patient records safe and secure. This means training every employee in using the paper shredder when disposing of any kind of document with sensitive patient information, ensuring your server is in a locked room, and changing passwords frequently.
When it comes to dental billing, the standard security practice is to transition to a dental billing service. It may seem unusual to bring more people in and potentially exposing a greater number of patients, but it actually makes a lot more sense.
When you transition to a dental billing service, you’re working with professionals who know the industry and arebe even be able to better identify security issues in your practice.
Security is also of the utmost importance to them and they would never subject their business or their trust with those they serve.
An outsourced dental billing company is also important for your security because it limits the amount of of physical, paper documentation there is. A majority of it will be on a program for your computer, so there is less shredding or worry about someone stealing sensitive information from your practice.
Another factor to consider is that oftentimes when dental billing is not outsourced, there are many mistakes that can be made out of haste or not fully understanding the medical coding (which is a beast in and of itself). When dental billing is outsourced, again, you get people with years of experience and skill, and fewer mistakes are made. It is less likely that wrong patient information will be entered or even a bill sent to the wrong person — because these do things happen!
Invest in patient security with EZ Dental Billing!
Because obtaining personal information is at an all-time high, it’s important to take precautions and increase your cybersecurity and, overall, the security of your patient information. You can do this by being consistent in the little things — properly disposing of sensitive documents, frequently changing passwords, backing up files, and ensuring your server is locked and away and hidden from patients.
To prevent dental billing errors such as coding the wrong service for the wrong patient or sending the wrong statement to the wrong patient, outsource your dental billing for improved patient information safety and security.
If you’re ready to avoid information breaches and increase your dental practice security through outsourced dental billing, connect with us today!