HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA privacy rule was passed by congress in August of 2002. According to Understanding Health Information Privacy (2014), “The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.” The Security Rule specifies a sequence of administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for covered entities and their business associates to use to assure the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of electronic protected health information (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). The HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, tutorials are a memento that there is continuous need for progress on the part of health care professionals and individuals. There is a strong need among health care professionals to know the guidelines, rules and regulations to stay within the laws set onward by the federal government.
What did you learn from the HIPAA tutorial?
The HIPAA tutorial was very educational and informative. I learned many things from this tutorial; however, I found the online information the most fascinating. Personally, I started in healthcare soon before we had EMR’s (electronic medical records) or as HIPPA calls them, EHR’s (electronic health records). A majority of us feel that our health information is personal as well as private and should be protected. The federal government put in position the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to ensure you have rights over your own personal health information, no matter what form it is in (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). The government also created the HIPAA Security Rule to require specific protections to safeguard your electronic health information (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). A few possible procedures that can be built in to EHR/EMR systems may include:
“Access control” tools like PIN numbers and passwords, to help limit access to your information to authorized individuals (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014).
“Encrypting” your stored information. That means your health information cannot be understood or read except by those using a system that can “decrypt” it with a “key” (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014).
An “audit trail” characteristic, which records who accessed your information, when and what changes were made (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014).
There is so much new technology and more modern advances in technology to come. With just about everything being based on computers comes with a whole new set of procedures and policies to keep individuals personal health information private. Federal law requires hospitals, doctor offices, doctors, and other health care providers/professionals to notify you of a “breach” (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). The law also requires the health care providers/professionals to notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). The Understanding Health Information Privacy (2014) “If a breach affects more than 500 residents of a state or jurisdiction, the health care provider must also notify prominent media outlets serving the state or jurisdiction.” This requirement helps patients know if something has gone erroneous with the protection of their information and helps keep providers accountable for HER/EMR protection (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014).
Also, I did not know before the tutorial explained it that there are several layers of protection each computer system has. The different types of protection systems have are fire wall, virus detection, cryptography, and intrusion detection systems (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). Firewalls get rid and/or locate viruses (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). Virus detection blocks distrustful traffic from entering the computer system (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). Cryptography preserves confidentiality (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). Intrusion detection systems look for patterns of misuse (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014).
The tutorial provided imperative information on integrity, confidentiality, and availability of all e-PHI’s created. Integrity is based on an individual’s values and trust (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). Confidentiality is shielding information from unofficial disclosure (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). Availability is appropriate authorized people having access to individuals personal health (medical) information that is required (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). All of the knowledge I have learned from the HIPPA tutorial I will be able to use not only in my future health care career but also as a patient myself.
Why is this information important?
Privacy allows us to make our own decisions free from compulsion (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014). Privacy is valuable because it facilitates and/or promotes other essential values including ideals of personhood such as (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014):
• Personal autonomy (the ability to make personal decisions) (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014).
• Individuality (Understanding Health Information Privacy, 2014).
• Respect and
• Dignity and worth as human beings (Understanding Health Information
”Informational privacy is seen as enhancing individual autonomy by allowing individuals control over whom may access different parts of their personal information” (Pritts, 2010). It also allows people to maintain their dignity, to keep some characteristic of their life or behavior to themselves (merely because it would be embarrassing for other people to know about it) (Pritts, 2010). Pritts (2010), ”Privacy also allows people to protect their assets or to avoid sharing information with others who would use it against them, such as discrimination by employers, educators, or insurers.” An individual’s health/medical records can include some of the most intimate details about a person’s life. They document a patient’s physical and mental health, and can include information on social behaviors, personal relationships and financial status (Pritts, 2010).
I learned a huge amount of important information from the HIPAA tutorial. Case in point: the HIPAA law was passed in August of 2002 and it requires a covered entity to secure patient records containing individually identifiable health information so that the confidentiality of the information is protected (HIPAA Security Basics: Health Care Workforce, 2004-2010) (Hippa Health, 2010). Another item I learned was the six steps to comply and document each process (Hippa Health, 2010). Throughout the tutorial it discussed an assortment of information about risk assessments, viruses, and denial of services, hackers, and breaches and consequences of HIPAA Security policy (Hippa Health, 2010).
How will you use this information in the future?
The information I learned from the HIPAA tutorial will help not only me but other health care professionals to understand how important complying with the rules and regulations has to be in order to provide the best protection for patient information. Understanding the regulations implemented in HIPAA will help health care professionals make the right decisions when releasing, sharing and discussing patients health care information. Every person is entitled to privacy in their lives and it is no different when it comes to health care.
Understanding and having the general knowledge of the rules and regulations implemented in HIPAA will further assist health care professionals to make the correct decisions when releasing, sharing, and discussing patient’s personal health care information. The privacy of health information as well as personal information continues to be a challenging issue. As a majority of health information is computerized, individuals communicate concern about their privacy over their personal health information. To help alleviate public concerns, According to Understanding Health Information Privacy (2014) “Federal rules governing the use and disclosure of health information were promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule).”
Understanding Health Information Privacy. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/index.html
Pritts, J. L. (2010). The Importance and Value of Protecting the Privacy of Health Information: The Roles of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Common Rule in Health Research . Retrieved from http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Research/HIPAAandResearch/PrittsPrivacyFinalDraftweb.ashx
HIPPA HEALTH. (2010). Retrieved from https://www.courses.learnsomething.com/scripts2/content.asp?a=9F7B983E559541A692699E4D6709D56D&ph=0A2241E0A9004D7EB6AD1293A5A86346&r=BeginFlashCourse&screenw=1280&screenh=800