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PHI Can Be Shared for Case Management with BPM

Joshua Hoffman
March 23, 2016

Sharing Protected Health Information (PHI) as defined by HIPAA regulations is an incredibly stressful and complex process. Healthcare organizations must be sure that data is moved to the right place and only viewable by people with proper authorization. This poses significant challenges when it comes to case management, but healthcare companies do have options. In particular, solutions like business process management software create the operational workflows needed to streamline PHI transferal during case management tasks.

PHI transfers viable in case management

In a recent series of blog posts for Health IT Buzz, Lucia Savage, Chief Privacy Officer, and Aja Brooks, Privacy Analyst, both from theOffice of the National Coordinator Chief Privacy Officer, have been exploring the implications of HIPAA guidelines in practical settings. In the report, they explained a hypothetical scenario in which organizations would be able to share PHI - within HIPAA security regulations - when completing case management operations.

Efficient data sharing is increasingly important in healthcare case management processes.

In this hypothetical scenario, a healthcare management company providing periodic advice to patients would be legally able to ask healthcare providers for relevant information about subscribers in order to offer more effective advice. This information being passed between stakeholders would need to be transmitted through a Certified EHR Technology or other platform that is verified to be HIPAA compliant, the news source explained. This would allow nutritional coaches and other advisors working with the care management provider to interact with health care organizations in more effective ways.

Using BPM to streamline case management processes

BPM tools are valuable in any instance when disparate user groups are required to share data or collaborate in order to complete processes. In the case of sending PHI between stakeholders in a case management initiative, BPM can serve as a hub for process communication as workflows move between different users. This saves people from having to manually file requests for information or track somebody down to check on the status of a project.

Process management systems are built to foster business efficiency by automating the rote tasks that come between people and the work tasks that require their focus. This is incredibly valuable in healthcare case management, as data from a huge range of stakeholders is often needed, and a central system to manage processes keeps everybody connected. Furthermore, housing these workflows, and tracking them, in a BPM platform creates a built-in audit trail, making it much easier to comply with regulatory standards.