Second Opinions: Wilson Pediatrics

March 20, 2009

The challenge: Ensuring legal compliance with e-mailed patient records and appointment reminders.

THE CHALLENGE:

Ensuring legal compliance with e-mailed patient records and appointment reminders.

While patient response to the practice's new electronic capabilities has been very favorable, Mezzoline worries about documentation requirements: What does the practice need to do to ensure HIPAA compliance when e-mailing patient records, and should e-mail appointment reminders be included in patients' charts?

THE SOLUTION:

Typically, laws don't specify how practices must document patient appointment reminders, says Steven I. Kern, JD, a healthcare attorney with Kern Augustine Conroy & Schoppmann in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

"Any system that allows the office to demonstrate, with reliability, what has been done by way of notification should suffice," Kern says. "What's most important is that the documentation in the computer system is reliable and cannot be readily altered."

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