HIPAA is a federal legislation that established standards in healthcare in relation to patient privacy and the security of medical data. HIPAA covers healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates of HIPAA-covered groups. HIPAA applies to most groups that fall into the above categories, except those that do not complete transactions electronically.
Healthcare suppliers include hospitals, clinics, physicians, nursing homes, pharmacies, chiropractors, dental clinics, and psychologists. Health plans include health insurers, company health plans, HMOs, and government programs that pay for healthcare including Medicaid and Medicare. Healthcare clearinghouses are groups that transform nonstandard health data into a standard format. A business associate is an individual or group that performs functions for a HIPAA covered entity that requires the use or sharing of protected health information.
What Does HIPAA Govern?
The HIPAA Privacy Rule covers all individually identifiable health information that is established, stored, maintained, or sent by a HIPAA covered entity or business associate of a HIPAA covered entity. The HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to all sorts of PHI, including paper records, films, and electronic health information, even spoken data.
This information is classified as protected health information when it includes identifiers that would allow a patient or health plan member to be identified. HIPAA does not incorporate information listed employment records, even if that information is included in the HIPAA definition of individually identifiable health information or protected health information.
If individually identifiable health information has all identifiers deleted, it is no longer thought of as protected health information.
How Does HIPAA Help Patients?
HIPAA helps patients in four chief main ways. HIPAA ensures that health data is secured to stop it from being accessed by unauthorized individuals. HIPAA safeguards the privacy of patients by stopping certain uses and disclosures of health information. HIPAA permits patients to obtain copies of their health data. HIPAA also make sures that if there is a breach of health information, the breached group must send alerts to the individuals impacted.