With the latest technological advances, most healthcare records are now managed in the cloud online based on HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance. To keep these records private, the HIPAA act has become a necessity.
But, why is HIPAA so important for medical practitioners, what are the rules, and how do you become HIPAA compliant? To help you better understand the need for these regulations, here we will answer all of these questions for you. This is everything you need to know about HIPAA.
What Is HIPAA All About?
HIPAA is a federal law that was first initiated in 1996 and is controlled by three primary rules. These rules are Security, Breach Notification, and Privacy Rule. The Security Rule ensures integrity, confidentiality, and a guarantee that private information is in safe hands.
The Breach Rule requires the entities responsible for storing the information to notify the owner/patient if their information has been breached, while the Privacy Rule safeguards this information to make sure it won’t get misused in any way.
The primary focus of this law is to provide strict control and privacy of sensitive information often used by health providers, companies, and insurances.
The law governs how those who keep the information can use it and what to use it for. It keeps the information secure and confidential, which makes it available for use only when necessary. So, if a medical professional wants to use that information for whatever reason, they will have to get consent from the owner of that information.
Why Is HIPAA Important?
For anyone working in the healthcare industry, sifting through PHI (Protected Health Information) is part of the daily routine. But, as an experienced practitioner, you already know the importance of working with such sensitive data and how difficult it is to keep it secure from becoming vulnerable.
HIPAA guidelines ensure adequate security, consistent confidentiality, and appropriate accessibility of all the important data stored online. To comply with federal regulations, you need to know what your company needs and how you can achieve that. With these regulations, you will always protect patients’ information.
HIPAA regulations have been created in the United States to make sure that all sensitive PHIs remain private and only used for medical services. But, most importantly, these regulations allow patients to be the owners of their personal information, which safeguards the information to be only used by healthcare providers.
What Type of PHI Is Under Influence of HIPAA Regulations?
Many patients have various experiences or health history. Everything that the patient has treated or managed in the past will be recorded in their PHI. This type of information includes:
- Physical health evaluation
- Mental health evaluation
- Various health conditions
- Past or present information
- Payments (future, present, past)
- Personal details
- Demographic location
In other words, HIPAA regulations have a wide net of coverage for sensitive data and restrict how that documentation is being disclosed or used.
Who Needs to Pay Attention to HIPAA Rules?
Every agency, organization, or individual who works with health care information, like health plans, doctors, clearinghouses, etc., should pay close attention to HIPAA regulations. All agencies considered a “covered entity” should preferably be vigilant. Here are those who should specifically be wary of HIPAA rules and regulations:
- Private or Public Entities – any health care clearinghouse, systems that work with health management information, repricing companies, or billing services should know everything about HIPAA rules and how to use them.
- Insurance companies – any company that works with health plans or health insurance, like Medicare, HMOs, veteran, or military programs, should be aware of HIPAA rules.
- Health care providers – clinics, doctors, nursing homes, psychologists, pharmacies, dentists, or any individual that works with HHS-approved transactions or electronic information transmission should be fully knowledgeable of HIPAA regulations.
- Smaller organizations – recently, it was announced that accountants, attorneys, tech companies, or any private business that works with sensitive information, like data storing, should evaluate HIPAA rules.
In other words, there are many businesses where HIPAA compliance is necessary, especially for providing an airtight and reinforced security.
What Do HIPAA Rules Accomplish?
Many businesses or providers work with sensitive documents on a daily basis. They are entrusted with this documentation and are tasked with protecting it. HIPAA rules make sure this sensitive data doesn’t get misused for whatever reason. Only the authorized individuals may have access to this information, which is crucial for providing proper care without putting someone else in jeopardy.
In other words, HIPAA regulations create a system that provides absolute control over the way this particular data is managed and used. Only certain individuals can access this information, and it will be protected from any potential entity or individual who tries to exploit it for malicious reasons.
For a company to be fully compliant, they need to meet all the safeguards, standards, and specifications of HIPAA rules and regulations.
“HIPAA Release” – What Does It Mean?
If you’ve read about HIPAA rules, then you’ve probably encountered the term “HIPAA Release.” This is a very important term to know since it stands for the written authorization paper. People sign this paper when they agree to disclose their sensitive documents. In other words, this is a waiver that proves an individual has given their consent for the information to be used.
HIPAA is a positive law in medicine with plenty of advantages. Since facilities that work with sensitive and delicate data need to share it daily, it’s important to have something to keep that documentation safe. That’s where HIPAA law comes into play. It helps patients feel safe and entrust health care facilities with their personal information. This makes more people be interested in disclosing their health-related information in specific facilities, which can prove beneficial. In the end, the documentation will be readily available for any quick decision making.