HIPAA Aims & Purpose

HIPAA was first enacted back in 1996. In its initial form, the legislation made sure that workers would continue to receive health insurance coverage when they were moving between jobs. The legislation also stated that healthcare organizations must implement controls to safeguard patient data to try and eliminate healthcare fraud, although it took many years for the rules for doing so to be formulated.

HIPAA also saw the beginning of many new standards that were intended to enhance efficiency in the healthcare sector, requiring healthcare groups to adopt the standards to lessen the paperwork burden. Code sets had to be used along with patient identifiers, which helped chart the way for the efficient transfer of healthcare data between healthcare groups and insurers, streamlining eligibility checks, billing, payments, and other healthcare machinations.

HIPAA also forbids the tax-deduction of interest on life insurance loans, enforces group health insurance obigations, and regulates the amount that may be saved in a pre-tax medical savings account.

HIPAA is an in depth legislative act incorporating the requirements of many other legislative acts, including the Public Health Service Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and more recently, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

Security and Health Data Privacy

HIPAA is most recognized as the toll that safeguards the privacy of patients and ensuring patient data is appropriately safeguarded, with those requirements attached in the HIPAA Privacy Rule of 2000 and the HIPAA Security Rule of 2003. The requirement for notifying peoples of a breach of their health information was added with the Breach Notification Rule in 2009.

The objective of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to bring in restrictions on the allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information, verifying when, with whom, and under what circumstances, health information could be shared. Another important aim of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to allocate patients access to their health data on request. The aim of the HIPAA Security Rule is mainly to ensure electronic health data is appropriately safeguarded, access to electronic health data is controlled, and an auditable trail of PHI activity is controlled.

So, in short, what is the objective of HIPAA? To  strengthen and improve efficiency in the healthcare sector, to better the portability of health insurance, to safeguard the privacy of patients and health plan members, and to ensure health information is always secure and patients are made aware of breaches of their health data.

About Thomas Brown
Thomas Brown worked as a reporter for several years on ComplianceHome. Thomas a seasoned journalist with several years experience in the healthcare sector and has contributed to healthcare and information technology news publishers. Thomas has a particular interest in the application of healthcare information technology to better serve the interest of patients, including areas should has data protection and innovations such as telehealth.