What Is HIPAA?

If you work in the healthcare field, it’s almost certain you’ve heard the term “HIPAA” a few times. Whether or not you’re working for an office that’s HIPAA compliant, patients’ medical record security and privacy are important to everyone. It can help to know a bit about HIPAA history.

So what is HIPAA? The simple answer is: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Although the rules and regulations surrounding the act can seem complex, the goal of HIPAA is actually quite simple. Patients have the right to keep their medical records private and secure from anyone they don’t want viewing them. Only authorized healthcare personnel with a need to know patient details should be allowed to view these sensitive documents.

About Privacy and Security

The rules about HIPAA regarding patient record privacy and security are both similar and different. Patients have the right to privacy and can authorize who is allowed to view their medical records, or see and hear sensitive information (such as a family member receiving medical information on their behalf). Medical records in every form–paper, oral, and electronic–must at all times remain secure and safe from unauthorized people. This includes all methods of storage, as well as verbally or electronically releasing patient information. Every member of a HIPAA compliant office must be trained and tested on proper procedures, in order to keep patient records private and secure.

In addition, all medical records must be accurate and readily available to those with the need to know the information contained in the documents.

Penalties for Security Breaches

Penalties for failing to comply with HIPAA regulations are severe–personnel have lost their jobs, offices have been closed, and fines have been levied against businesses that accidentally or knowingly released sensitive information. Jail time is even a potential penalty, which stresses the importance HIPAA has to the healthcare community.
Why HIPAA One?

HIPAA One has extensive experience in HIPAA rules, and practices solid security and storage measures. We provide streamlined, user-friendly HIPAA compliance and risk analysis software, plus online support and storage options at reasonable prices.

Contact us for more information on HIPAA, and how we can help your company remain HIPAA compliant.