When the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by congress in 1996 it brought forth four separate standards: Transactions and Code Sets, the Privacy Rule, the Security Rule and National Identifier Standards. If we look at the basic overview of the Privacy Rule we can pick it apart to see where the changes affected the healthcare industry.
Of course, the Privacy Rule changed normal daily activities in physician offices. Everyone had to receive HIPAA training and then had to ensure that all the patient health information (PHI) was protected in their office by locking up the files ensuring its protection. If there were files or computers in the room they had to be locked at the end of the day. Screen savers were used so if the computer registered inactivity it would automatically log off and the next authorized person would have to use their password to log on.
When the Privacy Rule came out, with it came six new patient rights ranging from the ability to obtain copies of their medical records, the ability for the patient to request an amendment to their health information, everyone who had access to their information, patients can request to be contacted prior to releasing information, they can request a restriction be placed on their health information and they have the right to file a complaint if they feel there have been HIPAA violations. Providing patients HIPAA education are a great way to further their understanding on the protection of their health information.
HIPAA training and practices in the healthcare industry have come a long way. It has been almost fifteen years and we continue to improve our methods in protecting the patient’s information. We spend less time trying to figure out how we are going to keep the patient information private Mental Therapy and more time on improving the processes we have in place making it harder to get the patient information. As the technology keeps improving, we will continue to be challenged with the moving parts of the equipment and firewalls needed to secure all the information appropriately.
The first step is to maintain current HIPAA training and to Legal Definition Of Treatment catch any changes or other methods being used in the field.