Faxing documents may seem as retro as parachute pants and gasoline that costs less than a dollar per gallon, but it is still one of the methods allowed for transmitting patient medical data. Faxage is one of the companies that offer the service and claims to be HIPAA compliant. We decided to put them to the test.
What Makes a Software Tool HIPAA Compliant?
When it comes to software, there are specific indications of the tool’s HIPAA compliance. Software HIPAA compliance really boils down to two things. Does the software have safeguards to keep patient data private and secure? Does the software provider sign business associate agreements?
When the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” the tool is likely HIPAA compliant. If the answer to either is “no,” the software tool is not HIPAA compliant.
What Are HIPAA Safeguards?
HIPAA safeguards are measures that a healthcare organization puts into place to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI). HIPAA categorizes safeguards into three groups – administrative, physical, and technical.
Administrative safeguards are written policies and procedures that dictate PHI’s proper uses and disclosures.
Physical safeguards, such as locks and alarm systems, protect an organization’s physical location.
Technical safeguards are measures that protect electronic PHI (ePHI).
While administrative and physical safeguards are essential, technical safeguards are generally the determining factor of a software provider’s HIPAA compliance. Technical safeguards should include encryption, user authentication, access controls, and audit controls.
Why is a Business Associate Agreement Important?
Business associate agreements are a crucial determinant of HIPAA compliance. Even the most secure software platform is NOT HIPAA compliant if it will not sign a business associate agreement (BAA).
A BAA is a legal agreement that requires each signing party to be HIPAA-compliant and be responsible for maintaining compliance. As such, a BAA limits the liability for both signing parties in case of a breach or OCR audit, as only the negligent party would be held culpable.
Is Faxage HIPAA Compliant?
So, is Faxage HIPAA compliant? Faxage is willing to sign a BAA with users, but you must request it from the company via email. They also include a checklist for users with guidance on how to use Faxage in a manner that is HIPAA compliant.
Their security standards appear to meet the requirements of HIPAA’s rules and regulations. Our judgment is that Faxage appears to be HIPAA compliant as long as the end user obtains a BAA and uses the service in an appropriate manner.