What is HIPAA?
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
This regulation under this law that protects the privacy of certain health information is known as the Privacy Rule (“Rule”). This Rule mandates the privacy of Protected Health Information (“PHI”), which is information that relates to the health of an individual and identifies, or can be used to identify, the individual.
The HIPAA Rule governs the use and disclosure of PHI. In general, medical professionals, as a “Covered Entities,” may use PHI for purposes of treatment, payment and healthcare operations.
It may disclose PHI:
1. With individual’s authorization
2. To another healthcare provider for treatment and payment purposes without the individual’s authorization; and,
3. In certain other circumstances as described by the rule.
In using or disclosing PHI, the use or disclosure must be limited to the minimum amount necessary to accomplish the purpose of the use or disclosure.
Basically, HIPAA insures you are protected, so that no one other than healthcare professionals can view your medical file without your knowledge or approval. It can be a good thing.
There are flaws with this though. Watch my blog for the real story.