How to Be HIPAA Compliant With Nutrition Resources
Learn how Healthie helps nutritionists manage their nutrition resources and how to be HIPAA-compliant when uploading and sharing documents.
When providing nutritional care, you’ll invariably need documents on hand for quick-access, distribution to clients, and of course, as part of a client’s secure record. Documents (not to be confused with intake forms) and nutrition resources will often include:
- Introductory materials: Your philosophy and approach to care, about you statement, logistics on how to reach your office
- Nutrition education documents to share with clients: meal plans, recipes, snack lists, educational handouts, nutrition guides
- Evidenced-based documents to share with clients and/or other members of your organization: industry practice guidelines, whitebooks, research studies, news articles
- Client health documents: records that contain private health information (ie. lab work, test results, exam results, doctor or healthcare provider assessments and chart notes).
Securely Storing and sharing these documents, although a simple concept, can quickly become a time-consuming and tedious task during the growth phase of any business. Keeping track of where your client nutrition resources are stored becomes complicated as you search across a home computer, work computer, phone, physical stack of papers, the Cloud, Microsoft Office or Google Office. This lends itself to documents quickly becoming dispersed and disorganized, and shared in a non HIPAA-compliant manner.
On top of this, it’s a challenge to stay updated on which documents you have available, and which you’ve already shared with your clients. For multi-provider organizations, having a centralized way to manage documents, share nutrition resources within a clinic, and enable permissions becomes even more complex.
We designed Healthie’s Documents platform to be a HIPAA-compliant way to easily store, share, and receive documents of all kinds. Because Healthie inherently facilitates client engagement and relationships, it’s easy to organize and share nutritioin resources with clients, manage uploads of sensitive information by connecting private documents to charting records, and automate core workflow needs as client loads scale. And of course, view and share documents on the go from the mobile apps.
This article provides an overview on how to leverage Healthie’s documents feature to manage documents for your business, upload & securely store documents with client PHI within a chart, share client educational materials, and manage documents within your organization.
Benefits of having a documents tool integrated in your practice management platform
1. Documents are organized and accessible at all times, from any web or mobile device
If you’ve ever had to say, “hold on, I know I have a copy of that somewhere,” then it’s time to rethink your documents system. Having all of your practice documents of nutrition resources within a system that clients *already* log into allows you to always know what you have available, and to access it whenever you need. No longer will you have to search among your devices, dig through your computer files or scroll through your email history looking for attachments.
Healthie’s documents tool enables providers to upload, store, and share the following file types:
- PDF files
- Documents (.doc and .docx)
- Excel (.xls, xlsx, .csv)
2. Documents can be shared to a client’s profile, with visible records of what has already been shared
As you work with your nutrition clients over time, you’re likely to be sharing documents and nutrition resources on an ongoing basis. It can be confusing for both you, and your client, to know recall which resources they already have. By digitally sharing document access with your client, whenever they login to their Healthie account, they’ll clearly be able to see a history of all resources shared with them. As a provider, this also helps you see what new nutrition resources you can share to further support your client.
3. Clients can access their documents at any time, to review or print-off
When you digitally share a document to your client’s Healthie chart, they will be able to access, download and print it at any time from their client portal, on the website, or through their mobile app. Reduce the need for a client to reach out multiple times searching for helpful documents, by allowing them to access, manage and contribute to their own document library.
4. Clients can upload health information securely and privately to their chart
Once a client logs into their Healthie portal, they’ll be able to upload documents to their chart. These documents will be immediately viewable to you as their provider, and you’ll receive a notification whenever a client uploads a document.
5. Securely Receive E-Fax documents from other healthcare providers
E-Faxing through the Healthie platform allows you to easily (and securely) send and receive client information between other healthcare providers. Fax a nutrition assessment, progress notes, lab work and more for overall improved communication with your clients’ care team.
6. Store documents containing PHI securely within your client’s Healthie chart
As a healthcare provider, it’s important to securely store client private health information (PHI). Non-secure ways of exchanging PHI include email, Google docs and other non-encrypted platforms. Using a charting and documents platform that is HIPAA-compliant will ensure your clients’ information is kept safe.
Best Practices: Using Healthie’s Documents Tool
As you navigate the Healthie platform, we suggest following these best practices for storing and sharing documents. These practices speak to ways to streamline your access to documents, enhancing your clients’ experience within Healthie and ensuring your clients’ PHI is being kept safe.
Share educational and general resources with client(s) through the general Healthie Documents tool
From your Healthie platform, you can navigate to the “Documents” tool on your dashboard. This is the best place to store all of your general information documents, and resources that you’d like to share with other members of your organization.
Client-specific documents, especially those that contain private healthie information will be stored elsewhere (see below).
Organize documents into folders as you go
This may seem like an obvious recommendation, but as your document library grows from a handful of nutrition resources to tens and hundreds of documents, having an organization system in place is essential. Within Healthie Documents tool, you have the ability to create folders — and you can create folders within that folder, just as you can on your computer desktop. Organizing your documents within folders will quickly allow you to filter through and find the document you’re searching for, as opposed to scrolling through a long list of documents.
Upload all documents containing PHI directly to your clients chart (not the general documents tool)
Separate from the general “Documents” tool on your platform, documents specific to a client should be stored within their private chart/profile on Healthie. There are two ways to store documents within a clients’ chart:
- Documents viewable by client: any document that you share through this portal will be accessible at any time for a client (ie. recent lab work or an exam result that their doctor sent via E-Fax)
- Private Documents: for any documents that you would like to keep secure on your clients’ platform and provide access to only upon request (ie a weight history of a client from their doctor, and due to their history of an eating disorder, you’d rather keep this document private)
A great organization system with your documents will allow you to always be aware of the nutrition resources you have to offer. When using multiple tools or platforms to create and store your documents, you quickly lose track of what you have available. By keeping your documents organized as you go, you’ll be able to quickly find, share and build upon your resources.
Share folders (instead of individual documents) with clients and other members of your organization
To save time, share folders with clients (or groups) instead of individual documents. Any folder that you share will immediately become viewable to your client, along with any documents contained within. To share a folder with a group, find the document or folder that you’d like to share from the Documents tool and select “share.” From there you can select the group to share with from the drop-down, and “share with all existing clients,” within that group.
Make documents accessible to a group to automatically
Within the Healthie platform, you can organize your clients into groups. Each group can have its own new client paperwork (intake flow) and also have specific documents (or folder of documents) accessible to them. As you add a new client to a group, they’ll receive access to any of the group documents, eliminating the need to re-share documents to all new clients. Within the Healthie Documents Tool, “share” the document, select the group you’d like to share with and change the permissions to “share with new clients when they join.”
Share resources with a new client automatically
As a new client is added to your Healthie account, you may want to automatically share some important documents or folders with them. For example, you may want to include a document that explains to your client how you’ll use the Healthie platform while working together (ie. to chat between sessions, to keep a photo food diary, to set goals and to share documents).
For an example document that you can modify and tailor for your practice, download our handout below “Introduce Healthie to Your Clients.”
Use Healthie Documents to store resources for your organization
When working in a group practice, or organization, sharing access to an internal Documents library helps support your team, and your collective clients. Ensure that all members of your team have access to your quality, branded resources. As a team member, upload a document to your individual Healthie provider account. Instantly make your resources available by selecting them and choosing “ “share with other members of your organization.”
Use E-Fax to securely send documents outside of your organization
Faxing with other healthcare providers can be a powerful way to build referral partnerships – this could be with local physicians, therapists, fitness centers, and other nutritionists. In order to be HIPAA-compliant, it’s important to obtain written consent from your client for each healthcare provider that you want to share information with. You (and the provider you’re communicating with) should both obtain a written content form.
If you receive any E-Faxes through Healthie, you can download the document and store it in your general documents (if not client-specific) or directly within your client’s chart.
For Healthie Members: here’s our list of nutrition resources to support your group wellness practice on the Healthie platform:
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