Privacy in Practice: Empowering Your Patient Portal with PrizmDoc Cloud API Functionality
Powerful patient portals are now essential for healthcare organizations to deliver high-quality care, even at a distance. Despite advancements around functionality, however, challenges remain. As noted by Healthcare Info Security, many healthcare providers still struggle with providing solutions to patients in an easily accessible portal that provides the security they require by law.
Here, HIPAA compliance is critical. Healthcare organizations need portal solutions that deliver valuable information without undermining regulatory requirements around data security and handling. Creating innovative, secure patient portals demands HIPAA-compliant tools that deliver advanced viewing and redaction tools while keeping privacy in practice.
The State of Healthcare Security
Security remains a problem for healthcare organizations as attackers ramp up efforts to access private patient and operational information. The healthcare industry saw more than 41 million records breached in 2019 and new attack vectors are now emerging as hackers look to leverage pandemic pressures and breach corporate security. It’s no surprise, then, that last year saw 28,261 HIPAA complaints, the highest number ever recorded, as organizations deployed more user-friendly technology and attackers looked to capitalize on potential weaknesses.
Ramping up security in patient portals and meeting emerging patient needs is a priority for organizations. Accusoft’s PrizmDoc Cloud, a HIPAA compliant solution, is capable of offering user-friendly portal capabilities inside your own secure application. The right combination of existing technology and cloud-based application programming interfaces (APIs) can take your patient portal to the next level. Let’s break down five key cloud-based APIs that can help patient portals deliver on practical potential.
Robust Document Viewing
Effective medical care depends on documents. From patient consent forms to test results and referrals from other healthcare practices, documents form the core of custom-built treatment plans. While the transition to electronic health records (EHRs) has helped reduce the complexity and confusion that comes with paper-based processes, this digital transition has introduced the challenge of document diversity.
From typical Word documents to Excel spreadsheets and scanned images of handwritten forms, patients need the ability to access documents on-demand, while healthcare organizations must ensure that patient access options are both secure and HIPAA-compliant.
The PrizmDoc HTML5 Document Viewing API offers document and image viewing while also streamlining the process with key features including:
- Responsive Web UI — Patients and staff can easily view documents and images that are scaled to fit their tablet, laptop, or mobile phone.
- Configurable Controls — Organizations can easily enable or disable tabs, localization, rendering options, and encryption within their patient portal.
- Microsoft Office (MSO) Conversion — Healthcare agencies can integrate true native viewing of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.
Reliable PII Redaction
Data privacy is paramount for HIPAA compliance. As noted by Managed Healthcare Executive, this is especially critical in the world of COVID-19. With telehealth now the “new normal” — and likely to continue long after the pandemic subsides — organizations must ensure that protection of personally identifiable information (PII) remains intact.
While robust encryption and identity access management (IAM) tools form part of this function, redaction is another critical aspect. Consider the case of children. As noted by the Health Info Security piece, although parents typically have complete access to the medical records of children under 12, PII for those between the ages of 13 and 18 — such as mental health records — may be restricted. For healthcare agencies, this requires patient portal solutions that allow parents access to some data while also protecting specific PII. Here, robust redaction APIs that allow organizations to obfuscate key information are critical to meet regulatory requirements without compromising ease-of-access.
Regulated Image Compression
Images form a critical component of effective patient prognosis and treatment plans, and while DICOM files used in high-fidelity imaging are often a priority for medical agencies, there’s also a need for image compression solutions that enable the portability of more common image types such as JPEGs.
Consider the simple case of patient identification. By attaching high-quality photos to patient records, medical staff are better equipped to ensure the individual they’re assisting — virtually or in-person — is the patient linked to the account. High-quality JPEG photos are also useful to record and track the progress of specific physical ailments over time. Cloud-based image compression APIs streamline this process with the ability to compress individual or multiple files, set desired quality, remove metadata, and set JPEG mode output.
Rapid File Conversion
Complexity remains a challenge for healthcare records management. As patients visit general practitioners (GPs) and specialists, data volumes rapidly increase, in turn making it difficult for doctors to find specific information and create comprehensive treatment plans.
Multi-file combination and conversion to popular formats such as PDF helps solve this problem — not only can healthcare staff create files that are easily viewed by doctors and patients alike but administrators can also set key permissions around editing, annotating, and printing to ensure information remains secure. File format conversion with PrizmDoc APIs can help enhance patient portals with key features including:
- Easy combination of multiple files into single PDFs
- Data security with optional password protection
- Specific section or entire file conversion
- Searchable output formats
Last on our list of patient portal APIs is watermarking. By labeling key documents with unique healthcare watermarks, organizations can both improve front-line security and enhance HIPAA compliance. By training staff to only accept and process watermarked images and documents, companies can reduce the risk of potential compromise. If attackers attempt to spoof or modify key documents they can be easily detected because they won’t carry corporate watermarks. These marks also form a key component of auditing and data tracking if healthcare agencies are evaluated for HIPAA compliance by providing a visible chain of custody around document creation, storage, and access.
User-friendly patient portals are critical for healthcare companies to survive in the “new normal” — and embrace what comes next. But speedy access requires a robust security balance; document viewing, redaction, compression, conversion, and watermarking APIs from Accusoft can deliver privacy in practice and capitalize on patient portal potential.