As a healthcare provider, conducting surveys is a powerful way to derive tactical insights from patient experiences. Great surveys create opportunities to improve as a practice through policies, communications, and procedures.
However, due to government regulations surrounding patient privacy, any protected healthcare information (PHI) you collect must be handled in compliance with HIPAA. With that in mind, your survey software must support data privacy and security.
There are a few key requirements to comply with HIPAA. Security violations always risk patient trust, but in healthcare breaches can result in serious government action such as punishment and fines.
HIPAA was created to protect individuals’ right to privacy. Requirements include:
- Ensure the confidentiality of electronic protected healthcare information (e-PHI)
- Reasonably protect against known and anticipated security threats
- Provide workplace training and require compliance
HIPAA-compliant survey tools aren’t the only way to ensure compliance. In addition to leveraging a secure tool, you also must maintain high standards of data protection, handling, and maintenance within your organization.
Why Use Surveys in a HIPAA-compliant Environment?
There are many benefits to capturing self-reported patient assessments of the touchpoints throughout their experience with your care practice.
Through surveys, you can:
- Learn more about touch points throughout the patient journey, including communication, accessibility, and care quality
- Gain actionable insights on hospital safety culture
- Improve patient satisfaction
- Increase patient retention and positive word of mouth
- Bolster transparency of care quality
- Promote accountability for care providers
How to Select a HIPAA-compliant Survey Tool
When searching for a secure survey software, there are a few key factors you’ll want to keep in mind.
In addition to finding a secure survey provider with the features listed below, you’ll also need to have your vendor sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). This agreement defines each party’s responsibilities regarding the security of client, patient, and provider data. All HIPAA-compliant survey tools (like Checkbox) will understand this need and should have no problem signing an agreement upon your request.
To maintain HIPAA compliance, it’s essential to understand where your survey software will be hosted. On-premises hosting options provide the most control and customization capabilities, making it ideal for healthcare providers.
Data Storage & Security
As a healthcare provider, you must protect any e-PHI shared with your organization. As a result, the data storage and security protocols for your survey solution must be top-notch. Ensure any survey solution you choose enables data confidentiality and reasonably protects against anticipated security threats.
Today, patients have to be stringent in avoiding phishing attempts. When surveys come through without any branding, you risk patient trust. Ensure the solution you select allows you to adjust the look and feel of your surveys to match your organization’s brand.
An optimal survey software makes it easy to send surveys out to your patients at the right time. However, as a healthcare provider, patient data must be kept confidential. A secure survey tool will allow you to distribute surveys to patients based on recent appointments while maintaining data privacy.
Within a healthcare organization, it’s essential that different team members have the right access. As such, your secure survey software must allow the software admin to configure each user’s access.
Additionally, SSO and log-in security protocols such as required password length and maximum failed log-in attempts can further reduce security risks. Limited permissions and thorough team training can reduce the risk of human error regarding data privacy.
Best HIPAA-compliant Survey Options
In-house Survey Solution
At a large enterprise, you may have the resources to build an in-house survey solution, which would offer you complete control over data privacy and user security.
Building a solution for your organization would allow you to customize every aspect of your surveys. However, creating an in-house survey solution is a significant undertaking, requiring immense resources to set up and maintain.
Checkbox’s secure survey solution is a great choice for healthcare organizations of all sizes. You can maintain complete control over your survey data with on-premises hosting options.
Team access is an often overlooked security risk. With Checkbox, ensure the right team members have access with login security and single sign-on (SSO) features.
Even with the most secure back-end, unbranded surveys can look like phishing attempts to patients. With survey customization and branding options, it’s easy to adjust the look of your survey to match your brand, ensuring respondents know they’re taking an official survey from your organization.
Get Started with HIPAA-compliant Surveys
As a healthcare provider, patient surveys can provide critical insights for your organization. However, running these types of surveys can be challenging with strict HIPAA requirements.
Remember, HIPAA-compliant survey software is just one piece of the puzzle. Establish stringent data handling standards within your organization to ensure you stay compliant.
Checkbox Gives You Options
Selecting a self-hosted (on-premise) vs. SaaS depends on your team, industry, and data security needs. Checkbox allows you to manage your survey system how you prefer, with SaaS and on-prem options.
Learn more about how Checkbox can take your surveys to the next level.