HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act was first introduced by Congress in 1996. It has been 24 years since the HIPAA was introduced but still many people are confused about the act and what it does for patients and what information does HIPAA protect.
Who Does HIPAA Cover?
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act sets codes and standards in health care organizations to protect and safeguard the medical data of patient or individual. Health care organizations that come under HIPAA are plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates of HIPAA-covered entities.
All those organizations or business associates that come under the above categories comply with HIPAA compliance. Organizations that do not conduct transactions electronically do not fall under HIPAA.
Health care providers include hospitals, clinics, physicians, nursing homes, pharmacies, chiropractors, dentists, and psychologists. Health plans include health insurers, company health plans, HMOs, and government programs that pay for healthcare such as Medicaid and Medicare.
The purpose to introduce HIPAA in the health care industry was to improve the health insurance system and protect patient’s data. HIPAA’s purpose was to allow individuals to access healthcare coverage even if they were out of work. It also states that healthcare companies should protect individual data from any kind of health care fraud and data leaks.
HIPAA has set codes and standards that provide the privacy and confidentiality of the PHI. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act make national codes that safeguard and provide security to the patient’s health records and other health information by:
- Giving individuals control over their own medical details, records and information.
- Enforcing a shared responsibility of data disclosure.
- HIPAA put heavy fines and penalties over those who do not comply with HIPAA guidelines.
- It sets various limitations on the usage and sharing of health data.
HIPAA guidelines not only provide privacy, reduce fraudulent activity and improve the efficiency of the health care system but are likely to save providers billions of dollars every year. HIPAA has made many rules such as HIPAA privacy rule, security rule etc. that covers all individually identifiable health information that is created, stored, maintained, or transmitted by a HIPAA covered entity or business associate of a HIPAA covered entity. The information that is covered under PHI that also includes electronic health information, even spoken information is also protected by HIPAA.
As discussed above, HIPAA protects all the personal details, health care information, billing transaction records, conversation between doctors and nurses while treatment of the patient from being getting leaked, fraud, and shared with other organizations without the concern of the individual.