We are living in the world where information has become the most valuable commodity. Why? Because information drives commerce. When businesses know what the consumers want, they update their existing products to suit the demand. If they have the product, they use information to bring these items closer to the consumers who will most likely buy them. Information is important not just to commercial enterprise, but to other aspects of life as well. Information is important to law enforcement agencies and the effective undertaking of their role and the dispensing of justice. It is important for non-government organizations because it allows them to function more effectively. Information is important in education and healthcare and medicine. Even religious institutions value the importance of information.
Information is important and it is valuable. Therefore, there are those who will seek to have information to serve their own needs, oftentimes to the detriment of other people. This is why it is important to protect and secure information, especially any information that informs others about our situation and condition. This is one of the main reasons for the HIPAA.
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA is a federal law. It makes sure that there are national standards put in place to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.
What does this mean?
This means that if you are a professional and your work involves handling sensitive patient health information, part of your responsibility is to ensure any and all measures are taken to make sure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive patient health information. This applies to a lot of things – securing the computer in the office where sensitive patient health information is available, verifying the identity of anyone asking for sensitive patient health information, reporting any potential leak of information or anything that compromises sensitive patient health information, and using everyday items that help keep papers and documents containing sensitive patient health information secure.
This is where HIPAA locking bags come in. While bags in general are fitted with mechanisms that give its contents protection, most of the time this basic level of protection is not enough. And considering the value of what you are carrying or transporting, it is important to observe due diligence and use HIPAA locking bags to make sure that the documents are safe. Today, there are many companies making locking bags that sell HIPAA locking bags that has safety features aligned with the standards expected of such an item.
What Happens if Documents Containing Sensitive Patient Health Information are not Secure?
If someone’s patient health information has been provided to others who do not have authorization, bad things can happen. First, it is possible that the information can be used for identity theft. If someone is posing as another person and patient health information is required to approve a certain action or step, then this automatically makes the person vulnerable to identity theft. Someone posing as another person can simply cite medical and health information and the other person will be convinced that he or she is indeed talking to the real person when in fact, the identity has been stolen and the information made it possible to complete the criminal act related to identity theft.
Another serious problem with allowing just anyone access sensitive patient health information is shaming. If someone gets to access sensitive patient health information and makes it public in the effort to humiliate someone, this could traumatize the person and create a stigma in the community. If, for example, someone exposes another person who is currently managing his or her being HIV-positive, this could result in feeling humiliated, stigmatized, and be subjected to many other forms of unfair treatment from others. That person may even end up losing his or her job, even his or her loved ones and other relationship in the community as a result of the revelation of information which is supposed to be kept in private. These are just some of the examples that illustrate the importance of adhering to the standards set by HIPAA and putting a premium on making sure sensitive patient health information is secured and protected at all times.
There are many manufacturers out there so take your time browsing the bags for sale and find the model which you think fits you well and provides the highest level of safety and security for the documents, papers, or any item you are carrying that contains sensitive patient health information. The fact that nothing in the market fits or is suitable for your needs and preferences should not deter you from having a safe bag to use, because you can actually order custom HIPAA locking bags.
An important part of the privacy and protection offered by HIPAA is mandatory compliance. Compliance is important because this sets the standards for safety and other metrics essential to preserve the integrity of HIPAA. So if you are looking to buy a locking bag and the nature of your work means you are carrying papers or records that contain sensitive personal health information, then make sure you buy a HIPAA-compliant locking bags. Papers or any document or file can be stored and carried using a HIPAA-Certified bag.
Professionals with access to sensitive health information who may be carrying or transporting items or documents that contain this information are expected to be very careful. An ordinary bag is not enough. To account for a number of possible scenarios that could compromise or jeopardize sensitive patient health information, it is always best to err on the side of caution and use items or materials that offer the highest level of protection. Remember that just as you are handling other people’s sensitive patient health information, there are others too who are doing the same thing with your own health information and you want them to be very careful about it, don’t you?