The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that mandates the creation of national standards to protect delicate and private patient medical history and health information from being disclosed to other parties without their knowledge.
HIPAA focuses on patient privacy, record keeping, and employees in the medical field. It is a landmark piece of information for every player in the healthcare industry and had a lot to offer everyone in the healthcare industry and patients.
Why Is HIPAA Important?
HIPAA is the law, and the penalties for breaking this law can be severe. Violations of this law can lead to fines of up to $25,000 per every record compromised. All players in the healthcare industry, including business associates, are required to abide by this law.
The law helps prevent fraud in the healthcare industry and ensures that every piece of health information is secured, and restricts access to health-related data to unauthorized individuals. Introduced in 1996 and enacted in 1997, HIPAA’s first most important order was to make sure employees continued to receive health insurance coverage when they are between jobs.
The HIPAA law later moved on to handle standardized medical record-keeping and patient privacy.
Why is HIPAA Important In the Healthcare Field?
The law introduced a transition from paper records to electronic records of health information. Before HIPAA, it was not unusual to see patient’s health records, x-rays, or photographs lying around an office for everyone to see.
Courier services could deliver paper records between hospitals or offices, and one mishap could reveal embarrassing photographs or patient information that should have been kept private. The transition to electronic records makes patient records more secure, confidential and minimizes the risk of losing vital information.
When it comes to patient’s privacy, some of the questions that one can ask are, should a billing clerk be able to pull up a patient’s height, weight, and family medical history? Does an imaging technician need to view blood test results? The answer is no.