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emPower eLearning: HIPAA Privacy Policies and Standards

Monday, September 28, 2009

HIPAA Privacy Policies and Standards

Howdy Readers, I was just going through an interesting read on the internet which i wish to share with you all.Why is the HIPAA Privacy Rule needed?

When it comes to individual health and medical data it can be collected, stored, analyzed and distributed in unprecedented quantities and put to diverse uses. Employers utilize health records to minimize their health care and workers compensation costs, as well as to identify employees who may be costly in the future. Payers not only use patient data for claims payment but also for utilization review, underwriting and coverage decisions.

Health care providers have a strong tradition of protecting private health and medical information. In the present world, traditional method of data locked in filing cabinets is not enough.

Here some of the incidents that necessitated the passage of HIPAA standards and regulations
In Rapid City SID, a medical student took home copies of patients psychiatric records to work on a research project. He disposed of the material in the trash basket of a fast food restaurant. And that material was found and given to a newspaper reporter.
In Minneapolis MN, a university health facility sent emails to transplant recipients that revealed the names of hundreds of donors to whom confidentiality had been promised.
In Miami FL, several hundred hospital workers browsed through the records of a famous patient that had recently come to the facility, even though few of them were actually involved in the case.
In Tampa FL, a county health department worker copied lists of HIV patients, distributed the information to his friends and sent the information to a local newspaper.

HIPAA Privacy Standards

The HIPAA Privacy rule covers national standards to protect the individual medical record and other personal health information and applies to health plans, health care and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically.The Privacy rule standards address the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information called “Protected Health Information” by organizations subject to the Privacy Rule, known as covered entities, as well as standards for individual privacy rights to understand and control how their health information is used. Major objective of privacy rule is to ensure that individual health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public health.

We all think that Healthcare practices would be rest assured with Regulations, but these kind of discrepancies causes them a great deal of problems and penalties. Hence, they should enhance proper training and follow the strict guidelines of the federal regulation.

Jason Gaya

Read more on HIPAA at, www.empowerbpo.com

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