What does HIPAA do?

HIPAA is federal legislation that brought in standards in healthcare linked to patient privacy and the protection of medical data. HIPAA covers healthcare suppliers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates of HIPAA-covered groups. HIPAA applies to most groups that come under these above categories, except those that do not conduct transactions digitally.

Healthcare suppliers are classified as hospitals, clinics, physicians, nursing homes, pharmacies, chiropractors, dentists, and psychologists. Health plans are classified as health insurers, company health plans, HMOs, and government programs that pay for healthcare such as Medicaid and Medicare. Healthcare clearinghouses are groups that transform nonstandard health data into a standard format. A business associate is referred to as an individual or entity that carries out functions for a HIPAA covered entity that requires the use or sharing of protected health information.

What is Covered under HIPAA?

The HIPAA Privacy Rule includes all individually identifiable health information that is created, saved, maintained, or transmitted by a HIPAA covered entity or business associate of a HIPAA covered body. The HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to all formats of PHI, including paper records, films, and electronic health information, even spoken data.

This information is classified as protected health information when it has identifiers that would mean a patient or health plan member could be identified. HIPAA does not include data included in 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.

What is the Advantage of HIPAA for Patients?

HIPAA benefits patients in four main ways. HIPAA ensures that health data is security to stop it from being seen by unauthorized actors. HIPAA safeguards the privacy of patients by stopping certain uses and disclosures of health information. HIPAA allows patients to receive copies of their health information. HIPAA also guarantees that if there is a breach of health information, the breached entity must issue notifications to the individuals impacted by the breach.

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.