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TMCnews Featured Article


September 28, 2009

E-mail Archiving: Meeting HIPAA Requirements (Part 1 of 10)

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor


Editor’s Note: In the first of a 10-part series, TMCnet looks at the governmental rules and regulations associated with the management and storage of electronic communications by healthcare providers, financial institutions, law firms and other businesses.
 
This week’s featured story talks about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, and how 123Together.com (News - Alert) (News - Alert), a leading provider of hosted business services, can help healthcare officials quickly, simply, and cost effectively meet the stringent requirements of this law.
 
Over the past few years, e-mail has become the primary means of communication for most organizations. And given its importance, a number of state and federal laws have been enacted which require businesses, agencies and organizations to implement an e-mail archiving solution to protect the use and storage of electronic data.
 
One such sector impacted by federal law is healthcare.
 
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or “HIPAA”, was passed by the federal government in 1996 and has wide-reaching implications on a number of healthcare service providers including hospitals, doctors, health insurance and life insurance firms, as well as long-term care facilities, medical billing companies and any business which maintains health records. This regulation protects the privacy of an individual’s medical information by requiring that healthcare providers deploy encryption and other security measures to protect electronic health records during transmission over electronic networks. It also orders organizations to set up a contingency plan to address emergencies if systems that store medical information are damaged.
 
Companies required to adhere to HIPAA must preserve medical records for five to six years. Those who do not comply with the law can face up to a $250,000 fine and a possible 10-year jail sentence. 
 
123Together.com, a Burlington, Mass.-based provider of hosted business services, is helping medical companies and healthcare-oriented businesses protect their clients’ health records with its GuardDoc hosted archiving service which enables businesses of all sizes to meet these regulatory requirements with ease and at an affordable cost.
 
Officials at 123Together.com, said their GuardDoc hosted e-mail archiving service helps all businesses meet government requirements by providing them with a stable, secure and cost effective web-based data storage solution. These include not only healthcare providers but also financial services, legal or brokerage firms, banks, local municipalities, and publically traded companies.
 
The service provides businesses with a tamper-proof, offsite repository for corporate e-mails and attachments. It enables customers to store an unlimited amount of data at no additional cost, and is accessible around the clock via any internet-enabled computer. Users can retrieve data on-demand without the need for IT personnel. No long-term contracts are required, as companies only pay a small monthly per user fee. A 30-day no obligation trial is available on 123Together.com’s Web site.
 
Check back for next week’s segment on the Securities and Exchange Commission
Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
 

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering unified communications, telepresence, IP communications industry trends and mobile technologies. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney




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