6 HIPAA Facts Every Medical Professional Should Know

In the medical profession, the interest of the patients come first. Regulations and procedures are meant to be followed to protect and safeguard the patient’s information regarding their health. Without doing so, you potentially risk your patient’s medical records getting out there for people to see. The increase in technology and electronic use in hospitals can help others gain medical records that are not theirs through hacking of computer systems. As a result, medical records can be compromised. The Protected Health Information (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is then in jeopardy because of the breach.

To avoid such occurrences from happening, here are 6 facts you should know as a professional in medicine.

1- Protection of health information is crucial.

Health care professionals should safeguard their patient’s health records. Authorized people should only be the ones to access that kind of information. When a patient comes to the hospital for treatment or check-ups, a medical report is put together concerning the patient’s health and compiled electronically or in written material. The material compiled should be safeguarded. The Protection of Health Information (PHI), is said to give patients greater access to their medical records when they need them as well as preserving that information from outsiders. The patients should be the ones to decide how their medical records are shared and disclosed. HIPAA has provided ways in which medical information is protected and has lessened the risk of it becoming public knowledge.

2- HIPAA Violations can be costly.

As a medical practitioner, you should maintain and uphold the rules. Failure to that, severe consequences might occur. The violations tend to be costly to health organizations. This violation means that the entity has not maintained the regulations concerning the Protection of Health Information (PHI).

3- Communication with the patient is and should be confidential.

Under the privacy act, the conversations between the doctor and his/her patients should be confidential and unless compelled by law, should not be disclosed to any third party. If the patient, for instance, insists that the information gathered should be between the two of you, then that information should remain undisclosed. Also, the doctor should give the patient a form to fill in. The form provides clear information on how a plan will be used to secure, keep and disclose information.

4- HIPAA is used to reduce health care abuse and fraud.

Healthcare abuse and fraud is a serious offense under the law. These offenses include: Falsifying medical documents, receiving higher payments by altering claim forms and billing services that have not been rendered among others. To prove that these offenses have indeed been committed, the government must and should determine that it is indeed intentional, willful and knowing.

5- Information about the patient can be disclosed to the family if it warrants it.

The patient’s medical records can be shared with the family if the case is severe. The information can be disclosed without written consent from the patients. If the medical documentation does not warrant the sharing of information to family, it is therefore required for the doctor to keep confidential.

6- Personal health information cannot be disclosed with your employers.

The information is shared with the patient’s consent. If there is no written consent, then it cannot be revealed to the employer. The written permission should include; the data to be shared and who is sharing the information. Other than that, if the patient has not signed on to health reports being disclosed, it should remain confidential. Sharing without the patient’s consent is a violation of trust.
There are many facts to consider when it comes to HIPAA. As a medical practitioner, staying within the regulations is what’s best to avoid problems with patients and most importantly, the government.
Following the rules will keep your medical license safe from being evoked. HIPAA is a serious act that ensures the safety of patients from privacy violation. An array of rights have been set to ensure that every regulation is followed. The rights are balanced so that it allows the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care.

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