Installation Of A PACS System

Installation Of A PACS System and HIPAA - Securing Files from Here to There

The 1996 HIPAA act placed rules and regulations into law that protect the medical information of every patient in the United States. When PACS was developed, these rules and regulations needed to be followed to maintain medical integrity. HIPPA specifically states what guidelines are to be used when medical images and files are moved over virtual channels from one computer to another. These are called HIPAA security requirements.

EMR Hardware and PACS HIPAA Compliance

EMR, or electronic medical records, are becoming more commonplace in the medical world. PACS is EMR software that works best with compliant EMR hardware. EMR hardware can include tablet personal computers that can connect to the patient database wirelessly. These computers can be taken from one room to the next and used in place of paper files. Patients who have seen a doctor use a laptop in room are seeing the PACS system and EMR hardware at work.

What does PACS do for the Electronic Medical Records Mandate?

  • HIPAA security standards set guidelines for patient record storage and retrieval after a computer error or disaster affecting patient files.
  • HIPAA standards require intense encryption of data and images that are passed over an Internet connection.
  • Files and content are encrypted in the medical setting so unauthorized personnel cannot view or read certain information.
  • A back-up infrastructure must be in place for storage of all information. Back-ups are required to follow the same security rules as primary systems.
  • Hard drives can connect or attach to the PACS system via Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Network Attached Storage (NAS) or Storage Area Network (SAN.
  • Adding Information into the PACS System

    The point of installation of a secure system like PACS is secure sharing of medical information. With the installation of a PACS system and EMR hardware, a file that is updated in a clinical setting is immediately available to all health care providers treating a given patient. This is especially important for specialists who wish to access basic patient information from a primary medical provider before ordering tests or medical treatments.