In the medical field, privacy and security requirements are controlled by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA. This law covers multiple areas of the medical field, but the aspect we deal with the most at Fleet Couriers is the protection of medical information. But what does it mean for a medical courier to be HIPAA compliant? All of our drivers and dispatchers undergo training to keep them up to date with the latest HIPAA privacy and security requirements.
Here is an overview of how HIPAA compliance regulations affect medical couriers.
Protected Health Infomation
When a hospital or medical facility engages medical couriers, they are entrusting them with sensitive information about their patients. The couriers will be transporting data a materials that fall under the category of protected health information, or PHI. Many items fall into this category, including medical histories, test and lab results, mental health conditions, and insurance information.
Physical and Electronic Data Transmission
Because the primary thing couriers do is deliver items, ensuring those items stay secure is of paramount importance. There are three categories of safeguards that cover the security of PHI: administrative, physical, and technical. First, administrative safeguards handle the policies and procedures that maintain the security measures surrounding PHI. Next, physical safeguards cover physical security risks. Those risks include who has access to the facility and its workstations.
The safeguards that primarily cover medical couriers are the technical safeguards. These safeguards pertain to what are called “business associates.” A business associate is any third party that the medical facility contracts to do work for them. Medical couriers are also subject to extra scrutiny because their job is often to transfer confidential information.
Under certain circumstances, HIPAA covers the transportation of biological samples. HIPAA regulations consider biological samples PHI if they have any individual identifiers. For example, those identifiers can be the patient’s name and medical record number or the dates of service or collection. In most cases, those identifiers are present when the samples come from or are going to a hospital or patient care facility’s lab. So that means unless the samples are provided for research, medical professionals and medical couriers treat them as PHI.
Fleet Couriers: Trusted and Reliable Medical Courier
HIPAA compliance and privacy issues are major concerns for all medical facilities. And when they need a medical courier, they need to trust that their patient data will be handled properly. At Fleet Couriers, we train all our drivers and dispatchers to ensure that we are maintaining HIPAA compliance to keep all confidential data secure.