Vocalink uses a sophisticated – but easy-to-use – electronic system for interpreters checking-in and checking-out of interpreting appointments. This system, called “UClock,” uses smart phone technology to allow health system staff to sign an interpreter in and out of an appointment and certify that the appointment was completed. Beyond providing to-the-minute accuracy for interpreting encounters, the UClock system actually helps ensure HIPAA compliance. How is that possible? First, let’s look at the “protected health information” that frequently appears on a timesheet:
- Patient’s First and Last Name;
- Patient’s Date of Birth; and
- Procedure being done and/or general description of the medical issue for which the patient is being seen.
Now, let’s compare a paper “timesheet” to the UClock system.
|Must be printed and physically carried into the facility.||Is downloaded through a secure network to the smart phone.|
|Can be misplaced (left in the lobby, left in the restroom, etc.)||Difficult to misplace as is contained on interpreter’s phone (and, if misplaced, not easily accessed by anyone finding the interpreter’s phone)|
|Is not protected from viewing by casual observers||Is protected by at least two layers of protection – (1) interpreter’s passcode for unlocking phone
(2) interpreter’s passcode for accessing UCLOCK
|Must be transmitted via fax, with original maintained by interpreter**||Electronically transmitted through secure system to Vocalink with no copy left in interpreter’s possession|
So, how can a smart phone lead to HIPAA compliance?
By eliminating human error (losing the time sheet, not properly storing originals after faxing them in, not properly disposing of originals)
By protecting PHI from casual observance by others (passcode protection on smart phone).
**Vocalink’s interpreters are trained to maintain original timesheets in a confidential file and to periodically destroy those originals by bringing them to a Vocalink office and placing them in the locked, confidential shred-bin.