SurfCT Blog with Paul Vigario

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The Importance of HIPAA

Today, the general public has heard of HIPAA and understand the legislation that pertains to healthcare organizations. However, most don’t understand the importance of HIPAA for the patients. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law in 1996. It was a law that applied to healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses that performed electronic transactions. Since 1996 through 2009 there have been significant updates to the HIPAA policy. Now HIPAA has expanded to cover patients privacy, uses and disclosures of patient health data, and data security.

The privacy of health data is a central focus when discussing HIPAA. Its purpose is to restrict individuals from being able to view healthcare data without obtaining a patients consent. In general, access to patient’s health care data is restricted to the healthcare employees who need to review health and personal information. This will help the employee provide healthcare services and perform any administrative duties. In addition, the privacy rule grants patients to designate an individual to obtain health data on behalf of the patient’s friends, family, or caregiver.

In reference to the security of health data, HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to safeguard any health data created, stored, maintained, or transmitted to be kept secure at all times.

The notification of data breaches is setup with healthcare organizations to prevent access to a patients data. HIPAA and the healthcare organizations are required by law to issue notifications to patients when it’s deemed their records were compromised. This gives the breach victim an opportunity to protect their identity and reduce the possibility of becoming a victim of fraud…



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Data Protection in Dentistry

As a dental practice, you’re dealing with an abundance of sensitive patient information.  Your practice is fully responsible for obtaining, processes, and retaining all of the information that your patients submit to you.  Dental practices are required to comply with data protection regulations and requirement, in order to continuously protect their patient’s health information and privacy.  As technology advances, companies such as provide dental practices and specialists with the most advanced technological solutions to not only improve the efficiency of their practice but help manage and comply with data protection regulations.

Whether patient information is recorded and stored on paper or electronically, it is generally deemed as confidential information and needs to be stored properly.  Cloud technology has given dental practices an efficient way to electronically store patient information to remain in compliance with data protection regulations as well as HIPAA compliance.  

Within the last few years, data protection and HIPAA violations have become extremely regulated.  Practices that do not comply correctly with HIPAA compliance face penalties and other ramifications that could hinder further practice if not corrected.  A system as simple as e-mail needs to be properly secured because it can be used regularly for sending general patient information. provides dental practices with the proper security measures to protect sensitive data from with and secure e-mail systems, cloud storage, secure mobile access, all with step by step set up and integrated migration to make the process efficient and simple…



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Is Your Dental Practice HIPAA Compliant?

In recent years, HIPAA compliance in the dental industry has gained the same level of importance as that of medical organizations.  In terms of Protected Health Information (PHI), dental practices are held to the same standard as the rest of the medical community and must adhere to the same level of privacy and security when it pertains to patient information.  HIPAA rules regarding patient privacy, security, and breach notification fully apply to a dental practice if it is considered a “covered entity” under HIPAA.

Dental practices that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA need to take the necessary steps to comply with all of the required regulations.  These steps include:

  • Appointing a HIPAA Privacy Official
  • Appointing a HIPAA Security Official
  • Creating a HIPAA compliance team
  • Perform risk analysis
  • Train workforce members (staff & employees)
  • Develop policies and procedures
  • Maintain ongoing compliance measures

An offices policies and procedures are an essential part to complying with HIPAA regulations.  Dental practices should review their privacy and security policies, and alter areas that don’t meet with HIPAA regulations.  HIPAA privacy regulations provide patients rights over their health information, including dental and billing records. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) patients have privacy rights to :

  • Ask for a change in their records
  • Ask a health care provider not to disclose their information
  • Ask a healthcare provider to communicate with them confidentially, at an alternative location or by alternative means  The healthcare provider is required to accommodate reasonable requests.




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