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Who does HIPAA protect?

HIPAA protects who?

HIPAA, formally known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act, was signed into legislation back in the 90's. These regulations were enacted as a multi-tiered approach that set out to improve the health insurance system. HIPAA has specifications that ensure the confidentiality and privacy of protected health information. HIPAA creates a national standard that secures and protects individual medical records and all protected health information by:

  • Giving patients sovereignty over their own health information.

  • Enforcing a shared responsibility of data disclosure.

  • Holding those in violation accountable through heavily enforced penalties.

  • Setting boundaries on the usage and disclosure of health data.

Why does HIPAA matter? Well, all healthcare entities and organizations that use, store, maintain or transmit patient health information are expected to be in complete compliance with the regulations of the HIPAA law. When completely adhered to, HIPAA regulations not only ensure privacy, reduce fraudulent activity and improve data systems but are estimated to save providers billions of dollars annually. By knowing of and preventing security risks that could result in major compliance costs, organizations are able to focus on growing their profits instead of fearing these potential audit fines.

HIPAA legislation is ever-evolving and although it may seem complicated and tedious, it is imperative that everyone is in compliance. HIPAA has many parts to it, including many rules like the HIPAA Privacy Rule and HIPAA Security Rule. Just as one must be aware of every minute part of these HIPAA directives, one must be prepared for change. With Healthcare Reform and other disruptive movements, the industry is in need of flexibility. Keep an open mind when tackling healthcare because nothing is set in stone, nor will it ever be.

Despite the complexity of our healthcare system, everyone can make an impact. By being an educated healthcare consumer, the industry is one step closer to moving from a volume-based care model to one that is purely value-based. It is time to understand healthcare, analyze behaviors and determine solutions. Why now? Because there's no better time than now.

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