Engaging and communicating with patients is important for every type of healthcare provider today. There are many tools that can help your communication efforts but to properly safeguard sensitive medical data your solution must be HIPAA compliant.
The new market landscape is good for patients, as with new competition customers have become more educated about the choices they make. Protecting their health related data is a big part of that choice. Patients have come to expect that the company they’re engaging with has HIPAA compliance top of mind. As a result, healthcare providers now face greater scrutiny for delivering secure services and treatment in order to not just maintain your practice but to grow it.
So how does the modern healthcare company become more customer centric, while at the same time ensuring data integrity?
In a nod toward revamping customer engagement, a majority of healthcare providers are hiring chief experience officers. These new “CEOs” are tasked with strategizing the entire organization’s approach to the customer experience.
No matter how large or small, today’s healthcare organizations need to provide the personalized services, security and care patients desire. These new “CEOs” understand that a great way to deliver this personalization is by getting patient feedback through surveys.
And that’s where the rubber meets the road.
Since healthcare providers deal with personal health information (or PHI), the third-party software they use for surveys must be HIPAA compliant. There’s also sometimes a digital literacy gap that causes confusion about how to use these tools effectively. As a result, healthcare providers may be underutilizing surveys and other effective customer engagement tools.
The good news is that data-collection and survey tools are ubiquitous these days, and many of today’s software providers are HIPAA compliant. In this piece, we’ll discuss how surveys help healthcare providers, what to look for when selecting a HIPAA-compliant survey tool, and the survey benefits that will help support your overall business strategy.
Just so you know
Create secure patient surveys with Jotform’s HIPAA-compliant Form Builder.
How surveys help healthcare providers
HIPAA compliance guides how healthcare providers work as well as how they gather and share information, so it’s important to understand, at a high level, the responsibilities of each provider under HIPAA.
Healthcare providers are the gatekeepers to a patient’s electronic personal health information (ePHI). Almost every form of communication with and about patients, be it with a patient, a potential patient, or a third party, can include ePHI. HIPAA compliance dictates strict levels of security for, and patient accessibility to, that information.
That compliance naturally extends to the data-collection software healthcare providers use. Software is a vulnerable link for healthcare providers because of the risks of hacks, phishing, and malware, all of which could compromise ePHI.
In the worst case scenario of a data breach, your practice risks massive fines, punishment, and worse: the loss of patient trust. Therefore, it’s critical that software providers maintain HIPAA compliance. To be clear, it’s not the data-collection software itself that is or isn’t compliant, it’s the company providing that software.
So why risk sending patients digital surveys? Put simply, surveys help strengthen customer trust. Customer surveys are now just as important to healthcare as any other industry. Based on a West Corporation survey, 86 percent of Americans are willing to participate in a healthcare survey if prompted by their doctor.
Transparency and open communication are no longer optional; they are must-haves in order to understand and cater to your patients and customers. As health providers build strong relationships with their patients, they create a better approach to healthcare, insure the long-term viability of their business, and open the doors to referral business.
Collecting a patient’s feedback through ongoing surveys gives healthcare providers a direct pipeline to a number of performance influencers, such as consumer experience, patient safety and culture, care models, care quality, and data management.
How different types of surveys can assist your healthcare practice
Patient satisfaction and engagement
Engagement surveys help your patients take an active role in their health care. From the logistics of how your office runs (i.e., appointment setting, bill paying, and check-ins) to the comfort level with staff and office amenities, you’ll get valuable information about how you can make things better for current and prospective patients.
Health assessment surveys are great for understanding your patients’ health profiles, their lifestyles, and issues, both individually and as a group. This holistic view can help you determine the specializations and care services you need to focus on or improve. The data can also guide the kind of preventive education you plan for your patients and the practice at large.
COVID-19 and contact tracing
The coronavirus has changed the way we approach our health. Surveys specifically related to contact tracing help ensure the mutual safety of patients and staff.
Survey your patients to gauge how they feel about access to services like telemedicine when in-person visits aren’t possible and/or offices are closed. You’ll also get a better understanding, with increased day and time flexibility, of whether you’re meeting the needs of all groups.
What makes a survey tool HIPAA compliant?
Be it record keeping or customer engagement, the move to digitize the healthcare industry has been discussed for years. However, according to research by Adobe in 2018, only 7 percent of healthcare and pharmaceutical companies had “gone digital,” compared to 15 percent of companies in other industries.
That means there’s still a lot of reliance on paper. Digital forms and surveys have big advantages over paper forms. Digital forms automate data collection, eliminate duplicate work, and reduce data entry when integrated with spreadsheets, distribution tools, or other medical data warehousing.
So how are software providers helping healthcare companies migrate from paper to digital? HIPAA compliance is a start. Form and survey software companies are largely HIPAA compliant these days, giving healthcare providers the confidence to go digital with their customer engagement efforts.
A major pillar of HIPAA compliance is software provider responsibility. A business associate agreement (BAA) is necessary with any third-party software provider you work with to manage ePHI. The BAA creates binding liability and a commitment to meeting HIPAA standards. Most important, it keeps your business protected in case of a data breach.
Also fundamental for survey tools is the capability of HIPAA-compliant forms to automatically encrypt form data, guaranteeing the privacy of your patients’ ePHI. According to HIPAA Journal, impermissible disclosures of protected health information (PHI) are among the most common HIPAA violations, so the ability to encrypt patient data is necessary.
Jotform’s HIPAA-compliant survey benefits
Jotform’s HIPAA-compliant survey tool gives today’s healthcare providers the power and flexibility they need to effectively manage customer data. Jotform customers on Silver or Gold plans have access to HIPAA compliance. Our HIPAA-compliant survey tool offers unique benefits that will make your surveys trustworthy and flexible, both for you and your patients.
Here are some HIPAA-specific benefits of Jotform’s survey tool:
Highest encryption standards for HIPAA
Jotform has achieved the highest security attainment an organization can have as a business that collects payments from, and integrates with, credit cards.
Also, when you encrypt your forms, survey submissions are encrypted with the RSA-2048 key at the user’s internet browser.
Get an in-depth look at our HIPAA compliance and security, including Jotform’s technical and physical security policies.
Free unlimited HIPAA accounts for coronavirus responders
With Jotform, HIPAA-compliant surveys are free to eligible first responders, healthcare workers, and government and nonprofit organizations. We’ve accepted more than 10,000 organizations into the program.
Turn collected data into actionable reports
Patient feedback collected from an online survey is good; collected and aggregated data that provides patient insights in an easy-to-understand presentation is awesome. For example, Jotform’s Report Builder lets you generate live reports that update automatically. You can then share your reports securely with other authorized staff members instantly.
With Jotform, patients can pay their medical bills directly through your forms. For seamless payment processing, Jotform offers integrations with 30+ trusted payment gateways, including Square, PayPal, and Stripe. Submitted payments are protected by Jotform’s PCI and GDPR compliance, so patients can rest easy knowing their cardholder data is safe.
Jotform surveys employ conditional logic that allows you to show or hide form fields, send emails to certain respondents, show a text box only to users who imply positive or negative health experiences so they can elaborate, and more — all based on how the user fills in your form.
Also, if a certain question doesn’t apply to a user, they can skip that question in your patient satisfaction survey, allowing you to collect the most accurate data possible for your practice.
Jotform partners with the top HIPAA-compliant cloud servers for best-in-class redundancies, life cycle management, and network infrastructure. You can select the physical location of your own dedicated cloud server. This allows you to host your data in any part of the world and is especially important for complying with data privacy rules and location requirements in places like the U.K., the EU, Canada, and Australia.
Survey and form flexibility
Jotform surveys can be filled out on any smartphone, tablet, or computer. Your patients will be able to schedule appointments, update their medical history, or register as a new patient no matter where they are.
Health providers choose Jotform for HIPAA data collection
At Jotform, we pride ourselves on being fluent in the needs of healthcare and HIPAA compliance. We’re well versed in the needs of the medical industry, and the work we do reflects how HIPAA compliance fits into our service and software offering.
Here are a few words from healthcare industry professionals who put their trust in Jotform!
Start using Jotform’s HIPAA-compliant forms today!