In this world of technology, it’s easy to forget that information sent over the web is not as secure as we might think. Since we all work with protected health information (PHI) on a daily basis, it’s important to keep this information secure. Here are some tips for preserving the integrity of confidential information:
1. Always lock up confidential documents when not in use. Never leave confidential documents unattended. Do not leave confidential documents open on your desk or computer screen. Don’t leave documents sitting on the printer or FAX.
2. Use email encryption software. Any email that contains names, dates of death, dates of birth, death certificate numbers, or other types of PHI needs to be encrypted. Meeting reminder emails with a list of names to be reviewed need to be encrypted. If you are unsure if your email is encrypted, don’t send it, call or FAX the recipient(s) instead! Google has an encryption add-on to email that you can purchase. WinZip is also great software to encrypt files that you can then email. (You may use your team’s CFPS funding to purchase these).
3. Use desktop encryption software. Store electronic files on a secure drive. When you download death certificates from the death certificate FTP website, they go to your Downloads folder, which is not secure if your laptop or computer is not encrypted. Move them to a secure drive or delete them once you have printed them out.
4. Feel free to share confidential information over the phone to your team members, this is okay!
5. Use a secured FAX area to send and receive confidential documents. FAX machines should not be accessible to the public. Use a cover sheet.
6. Have a procedure plan for mail, voice messaging and faxes for work days when you are not there.