Today we have a large, aging population. We’ve seen insurance enrollments increase and more people taking advantage of healthcare services, but we’ve also seen the cost of delivering these healthcare services increase. This means that businesses that provide healthcare services are constantly working to assist more patients and increase the quality of care that they provide while trying to keep the costs to provide these services down. One of the ways they have tried to keep costs low is by utilizing a virtual workforce. This means hiring people who work from home on tasks such as medical transcription and recruitment as well as using virtual call centers.
Today’s economy is struggling. So, to stay competitive and save money, healthcare organizations are utilizing the services of home-based call centers more than ever. Currently healthcare organizations are outsourcing around 7% of their call volume, which could increase to 10% by 2015, according to a report written by Ovum.
So why would healthcare organizations utilize home-based workers? There are three reasons:
- Virtual topeople with experience in areas such as nursing, pharmacy, insurance and more.
- It’s more economical to use virtual workers.
- The healthcare industry can experience high volumes of calls throughout the year. Virtual call centers can handle increased call volumes with ease.
The virtual world is growing by leaps and bounds, but there are questions about the safety of the information they are given. There concerns about patients’ privacy . These concerns have kept numerous healthcare organizations from using home-based workers.
Virtual call centers that handle calls for healthcare organizations have security systems and protocols in place to ensure the security of data and patients’ information. Virtual call centers also take steps to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
How Unauthorized Access is Prevented
Having best practices in place, according to the requirements of your industry, can help protect private patient data. Some of these best practices include but are not limited to:
- Utilize numerous firewalls around the service provider as well as the network infrastructures.
- Include complicated authentication methods..
- Have a controlled authorization system in place. Only give users access to what they need and no more.
How to Prevent Misuse of Information
While home-based workers save companies money; there must be security measures in place.
When securing a home office environment, take some of these best practices into consideration:
- All computers should be locked so that unauthorized users cannot access the information and illegally copy or transmit it.
- Anti-virus software needs to be installed and consistently updated.
- Perform updates to ensure that computer systems and application and security systems are up-to-date and running properly.
- Get customers to use their telephone keypads to enter information electronically. This prevents unauthorized individuals from overhearing things like Social Security or credit card numbers, making this sensitive information more secure.
Any virtual service that is used should be HIPAA, HITECH Act and Level 1 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards compliant.
Virtual workforces spare healthcare organizations the overhead costs associated with maintaining a physical space for them. By utilizing some of the above recommendations, healthcare organizations can take advantage of the virtual workforce without compromising patient privacy and security.