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Editor's e-Note
Open communication between patients and providers is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t come without potential pitfalls. Chief among the concerns is security. With HIPAA making its presence felt nearly everywhere, providers must be diligent in how patient information is exchanged.

For example, take e-mail, the subject of this month’s E-News Exclusive. Sending an e-mail has become second nature, but, as you’ll read, there are steps practices must take to ensure protocol is being followed.

— Lee DeOrio, editor
e-News Exclusive
Before You Hit ‘Send’ ... Ensuring HIPAA Compliant E-mail Transmissions
By Jeff Willard

HIPAA compliance often keeps doctors and other health care professionals up at night. Yet, since the health care profession requires intense study and concentration, it’s no wonder there is not a lot of mindshare devoted to learning the minutiae inside a dense rulebook filled with a complex set of regulations.

HIPAA requires health care organizations to comply with specific security, privacy, and breach notification rules for the storage and transmission of protected health information (PHI), including electronic data. All health care professionals should have a solid knowledge of HIPAA requirements. But health care providers who establish their own smaller practices—especially the ones without the means to hire an administrative staff—need to understand the regulatory framework. This is particularly important when it comes to transmitting sensitive information via e-mail.

The following are four tips to avoiding a HIPAA headache, but more importantly ensuring compliance and security risks are avoided:

• Be prepared for a HIPAA audit. Many health care organizations are concerned about a governing body initiating an audit; however, there are many ways that practices can come under scrutiny for HIPAA compliance violations related to e-mail. For example, an audit can originate from a patient reporting an unencrypted e-mail or from an orthodontist for the same issue. In the worst case, an e-mail server might be hacked, revealing unencrypted patient information.

Full Story »
Security, Privacy Top of Mind at AHIMA
By Heather Hogstrom

The recently concluded AHIMA Convention and Exhibit, held in Los Angeles, offered a wide variety of education to inform and inspire attendees. Topics ranged from documenting to meet the needs of the LGBT patient population and engaging consumers with patient portals to developing a coding education trainee program and maintaining patient privacy and security in the wake of a tragedy.

In light of recent events, one session in particular stood out: “HIM Response to an Active Shooter Incident” by Sally Lucci, RHIA, CCA, program director for the health informatics and information management program at West Virginia University. Lucci was the HIM director at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC in 2012 when a shooter entered the building, killing one person and injuring seven others. While the incident was over in six minutes, she and more than 20 others hid in her small office for hours.

Read more »
In this e-Newsletter
Recently in For The Record
Embrace Risk Adjustment
Experts say coders would be wise to become familiar with the latest payment methodologies. Read more »

The Kids Are All Right
Telepediatric initiatives are making a difference in the lives of many families. Read more »

The Right Mix
What ingredients are essential to a successful HIT initiative? Read more »

Indefatigable RACs Plow Ahead
New rules, points of emphasis, and contractors highlight the latest iteration of the auditing program. Read more »
Other News
CVS Health and Epic Announce Initiative to Help Lower Drug Costs
A collaboration between CVS Health and Epic will help lower drug costs for patients by providing prescribers with expanded visibility to lower-cost alternatives through enhanced analytics and data sharing.

As Telehealth Grows, So Do Privacy, Security Concerns
New risks, including the increased potential for data to be accessed inappropriately, accompany the use of telehealth, according to GovInfoSecurity.
Ask the Expert
Have a coding or transcription question? Get an expert answer by sending an email to

This month’s selection:

I am not a certified coder, but I’ve been doing coding for my company for five years or so. The reports we get from the doctors’ offices usually specify seven views of C spine, two views of T spine, and seven views of L spine. I’ve always used 72114 for seven views of the lumbar spine and 72052 for seven views of the C spine. Then, our certified coder started coding seven views of the L spine as 72110. I questioned my supervisor about this and was told that there were changes to the CPT book and that we now can only bill the 72114 if the report specifies that bending views were performed.

Read more »
Featured Jobs
The nation's top employers and recruiters of HIM talent advertise in For The Record magazine and post their job openings on Check out the most recent opportunities that have been submitted by employers across the country!
AMIA Preview
Nation’s Capital Hosts Medical Informatics Symposium
By Heather Hogstrom

The AMIA 2017 Annual Symposium will be held November 4­–8 in Washington, D.C., where Informatics professionals will have plenty of educational opportunities from which to choose. The symposium, which encompasses translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics, will offer up to 25.5 CE credits; 22 preconference workshops; more than 350 poster presentations; a large selection of scientific sessions including panels, oral presentations, and system demonstrations; and plenty of exhibitors and Learning Showcase presentations in the Exhibit Hall.

The opening keynote speaker is Eric Dishman, director of the “All of Us” Research Program at the National Institutes of Health. Chris Wiggins, PhD, an associate professor of applied mathematics at Columbia University and the chief data scientist at The New York Times, will present the closing keynote. At the 7 AM Sunrise Sessions, Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, director of the National Library of Medicine, and Don Rucker, MD, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, will give updates on their respective organizations.

Read more »
Industry Insight
Career Step Adds Academic Partner

Career Step, an online provider of career-focused education and professional training, is pleased to announce the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education as its latest academic partner.

“The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is passionate about offering their students the best continuing education programs to provide quality career training,” says Glade Tidwell, Career Step vice president of academic partnerships. “We are excited to partner with them as they make a difference in the careers and lives of their students.”

Read more »
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Tech & Tools
New App Uses Smartphone Selfies to Screen for Pancreatic Cancer
University of Washington researchers have developed an app that could allow people to easily screen for pancreatic cancer and other diseases by snapping a smartphone selfie. One of the earliest symptoms of pancreatic cancer, as well as other diseases, is jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes caused by a buildup of bilirubin in the blood. BiliScreen uses a smartphone camera, computer vision algorithms, and machine learning tools to detect increased bilirubin levels in a person’s sclera, or the white part of the eye. Learn more »

Doctors Can Now Comply With Privacy Regulations When Taking Patient Photos
PicSafe, a simple-to-use app that helps eliminate the risk of privacy breaches when sharing patient data, allows health professionals to securely capture, send, and store patient consented photos, videos, and audio. PicSafe helps doctors minimize personal and professional liability, comply with strict regulations, and avoid potentially costly fines and lawsuits. The app allows doctors to record signed or verbal consent for photos, videos, or audio. It then compresses and encrypts the photos, videos, and audio on the phone, before transmitting the encrypted “report” to another doctor or an EMR system. An audit trail of who has accessed the report is accessible. The app is free and is available through the App Store and the Google Play Store.
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