HIPAA was created in 1996 to allow for workers to move between jobs and companies without it impacting their health insurance coverage during this period of transition. Prior to the introduction of HIPAA, employees faced a loss of insurance coverage when they were between roles.
A second aim of HIPAA was to stop healthcare fraud and make sure that all ‘protected health information’ was appropriately safeguarded and to limit access to health data to authorized individuals.
HIPAA Importance for Healthcare Organizations
HIPAA created a number of important advantages for the healthcare sector to assist with the transition from paper records to electronic copies of health information. HIPAA has allowed groups to streamline administrative healthcare functions, grow efficiency in the healthcare, while ensuring protected health information is shared securely.
The requirements for recording health data and electronic transactions ensures everyone is using the same system. Since all HIPAA-covered groups must use the same code sets and nationally recognized identifiers, this helps greatly with the sending of electronic health information between healthcare providers, health plans, and other entities.
HIPAA Importance for Patients
It could be said that the greatest benefits of HIPAA are for patients. HIPAA is important because it ensures healthcare suppliers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates of HIPAA-covered entities must put in place multiple safeguards to secure sensitive personal and health data.
While no healthcare group wishes to expose sensitive data or have health information illegally taken, without HIPAA there would be no requirement for healthcare groups to safeguard data – and no repercussions if they did not do so.
HIPAA put in place rules that require healthcare groups to control who has access to health data, restricting who can see health information and who that information can be sent around. HIPAA helps to ensure that any information disclosed to healthcare providers and health plans, or information that is established by them, transmitted, or stored by them, is policed by strict security controls. Patients are also given allocated control over who their information is released to and who it is shared with.
HIPAA is valuable for patients as it allows them to take a more active role in their healthcare and want to obtain copies of their healthcare data. Even with great care, healthcare groups can make errors when recording health information. If patients are able to obtain copies, they can check for errors and ensure mistakes are remedied.
As Patients can obtaining copies of health information it means when they seek treatment from new healthcare providers vital information can be passed on. This means that medical tests do not need to be repeated and new healthcare providers have the entire health history of a patient to inform their decisions. Before the Introduction of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, there was no obligations for healthcare groups to share copies of patients’ health information.