Sunday, November 13, 2011
What Exactly Are HIPAA and HIPAA Protected Health Information?
With the creation of the Internet and other major data sharing sources, things started changing dramatically in the way that information is transferred between many different sources. Using the web and data software for medical records retrieval, prior to government regulated action, did not really provide security or privacy for the patients whose records were being shared. Thus, HIPAA was born and protected health information became a reality. Time to explain what exactly HIPAA is and what does it cover as a law? First, it is important to begin with a general definition of HIPAA. In 1996, the United States passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act changed the way healthcare workers and providers are allowed to handle medical record retrieval and the sharing of personal healthcare information. This act is relevant for all Americans, whether they are infants, adults, or even deceased. HIPAA protected health information encompasses all walks of life and all sorts of professionals who may or may not need to access the private information of others. This act was passed to prevent the random access of information via networks, and makes it so that medical professionals and others who frequently use medical records have to obtain permission from patients to share or access this material. Because HIPAA protected health information is protected under federal law, all states have to apply by these regulations, and can only add to them, not take away from their severity. Improper medical records retrieval can result in serious consequences. All punishment results in fines, and these fines can add up to over one million dollars, which to most people, is an exorbitant amount of money. Keeping patients safe and secure both physically and also record wise is crucial for patient safety and success. HIPAA protected health information encompasses many areas of the medical field and several other professions. Essentially, all information about a patient is protected by this act. A patient has to give consent before anything, but his or her first name can be shared with others. Medical records retrieval is something that is needed in other professions as well, such as legal personnel. HIPAA protects patients from lawyers obtaining their information without court ordered documents. This makes sure that a patient's personal business is not put out there for just anyone to see and spread. By covering all information, there is no chance of anything being left up to chance regarding the security and safety of patients. HIPAA protected health information is something that no one wants to have distributed publicly for the entire world to see. HIPAA protects every citizen of this country from the unlawful and unfair spreading of his or her personal medical information. Without explicit permission or a signed document, there is no way to get away from having to pay an expensive fine if one violates the HIPAA protection act. Medical records retrieval is something that might be considered a little time consuming since HIPAA has been signed into law, but it has become safer and more secure for everyone.