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Four Things Device Reps Need to Know About HIPAA

August 25,2015

I remember at every sales meeting I attended, when that time came to attend the dreaded compliance session,  I would search for any excuse to skip it.  I would pray for a call from an important customer or even food poisoning from yet another buffet meal. How many times had I snoozed through the Sunshine Act, HIPAA, Safe Harbor, Quid pro quo, and all of the other ethereal rules being pontificated about by those living in the ivory towers? 

Yep, I bought Dr. Jones’ office Panera because I was hungry too. Who cares! 

I can’t send flowers if a close friend, who happens to be a physician, has a family member pass away because it violates ADVAMED? Unbelievable! 

Then there were the annual webinars and tests to remain compliant and “earn” the honor of being credentialed at my hospitals.   I thought, “Just pass the test, it doesn’t matter anyway.”

*Free Hint* Pick the answers with the highest fine, longest jail sentence or all of the above and you would likely be correct.

HIPAA however, is a whole different monster.   Let me break down the four things you need to know. 

1) There are real implications for all of the patient data you have on your devices.  As a business associate, device reps fall under the HIPAA guidelines and therefore you are personally accountable for all protected health information (PHI) that is transmitted to you. 

2) The fines are serious, $50,000 per incident up to $1,500,000 for repeated incidents. 

3) The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), who enforces HIPAA, is beginning the process of proactive audits.

4) Your company has trained you, you signed off; they are off the hook. 

So the next time you get a text from one of your docs containing PHI, you may want to consider what solution you could provide to keep yourself and your physicians safe and compliant. 

IM Your Doc provides a HIPAA compliant messaging app that protects you and your docs from HIPAA related texting violations.  It’s free to download and use app, just download it from the App or Google Play store on your device.