HIPAA Photo Management with WinguMD

A great number of mobile medical photography companies express the importance of HIPAA compliance. Why is that?

Around 2016, the mobile device use in medicine has tipped the scales with over 80% of doctors adopted its use. With so many clinicians and hospital staff using devices, ensuring that this vast amount of activity is performed while maintaining compliance with strict HIPAA Guidelines is essential.

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When it comes to medical photos, HIPAA violations come from many different angles, and can get you into real – and expensive - trouble.

Sources: Health IT Outcomes, Think With Google

If you point a camera in a hospital in any direction, you can catch patient information very easily and without intending to. For example, you can accidentally include:

  • Patient name and schedule written on a grease board or display monitor;

  • Patients or staff walking around with IV sacks with patient labels on them

  • Patients’ faces, or clearly identifiable features of the patient, including patterns or art on their skin. Remember! AI algorithms are getting quite good at this and can identify from 1000s of photos in a few minutes;

  • Audios discussing patients.

According to a recent HIPAA Journal Article, the price tag for violating HIPAA is very hefty in upwards of millions, even for accidental issues. Hospitals are taking this matter very seriously.

Taking a photo and keeping it on your storage by itself may not cause HIPAA violation, but if you are managing them in your built-in apps there is too much room for error, and accidentally exposing them to a large number of people. 

If someone can tell a specific person was at a medical facility at a specific time that allows them to come up with a conclusion that can trigger a HIPAA violation. And people are losing their jobs over this.

Your photo can accidentally leak because:

  • You did not think about where the photo was taken and shared it;

  • You included photos in an album but did not go through each one to make sure;

  • You did not think there was an accidental inclusion of patient information in the photo;

  • You shared an “interesting case” with another clinician and then that clinician has posted it elsewhere;

  • Your child borrowed your phone and accidentally shared a bunch of photos;

  • Your device got hacked and took them for ransom or exposure to the masses.

WinguMD takes preventing these kinds of accidents seriously. We do this by:

  • Requiring additional levels of access beyond just accessing your phone, either by adding a dedicated account or by the hospital’s access system;

  • Isolating professional photos from your personal ones;

  • Preventing accidental or automatic sharing of professional photos;

  • Helping to organize the photos, so you don’t mistake one photo of a patient with another patient;

  • Migrating your clinical photos and videos to a dedicated system inside a hospital’s firewall;

  • Disabling remote access in case of device loss or theft;

  • Backing up and storing important data in the cloud.

It is time for you to evaluate available options and avoid penalties and embarrassment. Download our free mobile app from the iTunes store, evaluate it and select the best option for you, risk free. When every member of the care team can’t live without it, call us to learn about our integrated, enterprise-wide platform.