What is HIPAA?
HIPAA is an acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Among other things, the law established federal standards to protect patients’ “protected health information” (PHI) and to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of PHI that is created, maintained, processed, transmitted, or received (ePHI) electronically.
When Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996, setting federal standards to protect PHI was not one of its primary goals.
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HIPAA Privacy Rule
The privacy rules standards cover the use and disclosure of individual health information (known as protected health information or PHI) by entities subject to the privacy rules. “Protected Entities” are the organizations and individuals.
Privacy rules also set standards for individuals’ right to understand and monitor how their health information is used. An important purpose of privacy rules is to ensure that individual health information is adequately protected, to facilitate the flow of health information necessary to provide and promote quality healthcare, and to protect the health and well-being of the public. Privacy rules enable the use of important information while protecting the privacy of people seeking care and healing.
Benefits of HIPAA
- Ensure patient privacy and confidentiality
- This saves valuable time for the medical staff
- Improve overall patient flow efficiency
- Affordable and reliable patient billing
- It is according to HIPAA rules.
Applications of HIPAA
A visual pager calls patients to show the waiting room. Once the patients see their number, they are directed to the appropriate lab or examination room. This protects the patient’s privacy. The patient’s name in the waiting room No longer needs to be called. Visual search equipment improves the efficiency of the patient flow and saves valuable time for the nursing staff.
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HIPAA Security Rule
While the HIPAA privacy rules protect PHI, the privacy rules protect some of the information covered by the privacy rules. This subset consists of any identifiable health information that the Covered Entity creates, receives,, stores, or transmits in electronic form. This information is known as e-PHI. The security rules do not apply to oral or written PHI transfers.
- To comply with HIPAA security rules, all covered entities must:
- Ensure the confidentiality, accuracy, and availability of all E-PHIs
- Identify and protect expected threats to information security
- Protect against unauthorized use or disclosure not authorized by law
- Check compliance by its employees
The Covered Entity must rely on professional ethics and best judgment when considering this Permitted Use and Disclosure Request. The HHS Office of Civil Rights enforces HIPAA rules and all complaints must be reported to that office. Violations of HIPAA can result in civil fines or criminal penalties.