How Home Healthcare Management Software Can Help Organizations Meet Regulatory Compliance Standards
The healthcare industry is highly regulated, with acts regularly being introduced or updated. Home health agencies must stay on top of changing regulations and establish compliance-oriented practices.
Keep reading as we break down all the regulations you need to be aware of so you can spot compliance risks, avoid compliance violation fines, and improve patient safety. We'll also explain how healthcare compliance software can help you improve efficiency and effectively manage your compliance requirements with minimal effort on your part.
Patient privacy is a core pillar of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), making it imperative for home health providers.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes patients’ rights to confidentiality surrounding their identifiable medical data. Providers of healthcare services are bound by the concept of the Minimum Necessary Standard, i.e. that information should be shared on a need-to-know basis. For healthcare organizations, this means that you can only share patient information with employees when it's required for the agreed-upon patient care.
Healthcare compliance software can help you meet this obligation by allowing you to set varying levels of access to patient information. You'll be able to ensure that only employees who are scheduled to provide care services can view the information they need. And, by using a cloud-based app for your patient record management, you can quickly remove or restrict access as required.
Patient Data Security
The Security Rule is the other key section of HIPAA. While the Privacy Rule concerns who can view patient information, the Security Rule focuses on how that information is stored and accessed. It outlines healthcare providers' obligations to prevent data breaches and leaks.
Security poses a particularly high risk in home health, since patient information must be shared and accessed remotely in order to provide care services. An insecure or stolen device can easily cause compliance issues.
Healthcare compliance software that comes with a password-protected mobile app will reduce the risk of HIPAA violations. It does so by ensuring that protected information cannot be downloaded or accessed by anyone without the password.
Electronic Health Records
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) doesn't mandate the use of electronic health records (EHR), but it does incentivize keeping digital records instead of paper-based ones.
In home healthcare, EHRs are also invaluable for helping you meet your compliance requirements. They facilitate the instant and secure sharing of patient data that would otherwise have to be physically handed in by staff at the end of their shift. In this way, they support better record-keeping, improved efficiency, and enhanced patient care.
With home healthcare compliance software, your staff can quickly upload EHRs at the end of each client visit. You can also create progress note templates to support your team and ensure quality standards. Modern technology such as voice-to-text can provide user-friendly options for team members who struggle with texting and typing.
Electronic Visit Verification
Under the 21st Century Cures Act, electronic visit verification (EVV) is required for Medicaid claims. It's designed to prevent fraudulent claims and ensure that patients receive all the care services that they're entitled to.
EVV compliance is easy with home healthcare compliance software. Employees can clock in and out via a mobile app. With location verification enabled, you'll have a trustworthy electronic record that complies with healthcare regulations.
Occupational Safety Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) outlines workers' rights to a safe working environment. But in home healthcare, guaranteeing a safe workplace can be challenging. Home healthcare agencies often have limited control over the safety of a patient's home.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published detailed advice on how to achieve OSH Act compliance. These guidelines are generally informational rather than regulatory. However, they often stress the importance of record-keeping.
Home healthcare compliance software can help you keep better records. Features such as incident reports, private notes, and message logs will support you and your team in sharing safety-oriented information and keeping detailed records of any safety incidents.
Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) investigate suspected fraudulent claims which are then prosecuted under the False Claims Act. We've already mentioned the importance of electronic visit verification for Medicaid claims. However, you should also be keeping detailed records of anything you're billing Medicaid for.
Healthcare compliance software can facilitate this by allowing you to attach proof of expenses directly to a shift record. With a one-system approach to shift planning, time tracking, expenses, and billing, you can provide supporting evidence for all your claims.
Simplifying Compliance for Healthcare Providers
Between HIPAA, HITECH, occupational safety and Medicaid fraud, home healthcare providers are held to rigorous regulatory standards. While these standards are in place for a reason, changing regulations make the successful deployment of a compliance program challenging.
As home health providers, you want to prioritize patient care — not paperwork. But the importance of healthcare compliance cannot be overstated.
The right healthcare compliance software will help you meet your regulatory obligations. In doing so, it will free up time so you can focus on delivering high-quality home health care while growing your business.
ShiftCare's home care software helps you boost efficiency, enhance care quality, and stay compliant. Key features include patient-caregiver matching, scheduling, electronic visit verification and time-tracking, HIPAA-compliant record management and data sharing, and accounting and billing integrations.
Discover how simple healthcare compliance can be. Try ShiftCare for free.