Privacy Matters: Healthcare And Privacy
Doctors, hospitals, labs, and critical access facilities are in the midst of a complete overhaul…
Doctors, hospitals, labs, and critical access facilities are in the midst of a complete overhaul regarding the storage of health care information. This information is being converted from paper to electronic format, a long and complex process. Benefits Of Health Insurance When the conversion is complete, providers, insurance companies, and consumers will experience better coordination of care. Healthcare and privacy go hand in hand, so consumers should be aware of how their information will be protected.
With the electronic transmission of health information between labs, hospitals, providers, insurance companies, and insureds, the issue of privacy takes center stage. Systems are being designed to enable communication between each party involved in treatment, as well as patients. If the proper security precautions are not taken, confidential patient demographic and treatment information and payment details could be exposed.
Subtitle D of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health, or HITECH, Act addresses the security and privacy concerns related to electronic transmission of health information. Several of the provisions strengthen criminal and civil Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle Powerpoint enforcement of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules. These revise certain sections of the Social Security Act and an interim final rule conforming HIPAA enforcement regulations to these went into effect on November 30, 2009.
There are four categories of violations, reflecting increasing levels of infraction, with four corresponding penalty tiers. The minimum penalty amount increases with each violation and a maximum penalty of $1.5 million is in place regarding all violations within an identical provision. Penalties can be imposed even if a covered entity was not aware of the violation and reasonable diligence would not have revealed it. These violations are now included in the lowest penalty tier.
Health IT professionals throughout the country are increasing the security of electronic health record systems. They are assessing risks and creating tools and guidance to minimize them. In addition, they are educating medical professionals and health care facilities in security awareness. Support functions like backup, recovery, and plans for incident response are being put into place to deal with a security emergency if it happens.
Any electronic health information violation corrected within a 30-day period is not subject to penalties, as long as it does not result from willful neglect. However, the goal is to prevent this from happening in the first place. When healthcare and privacy are considered at the same time, IT and healthcare professionals are able to reduce the likelihood of security breaches, protecting our personal and health information.