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Is your health care organization HIPPA-compliant?

Increasingly in industries, workplaces and households around the world, privacy is becoming a longed-for relic of the past. While one's right to privacy was previously assumed; from an individual's personal identifying information to a bank's list of security codes— in today's digital age information is easily and readily discovered and shared.

When it comes to one's health and medical records, privacy is always a chief concern. With a mandated move to electronic health records, hospitals and health care organizations must do their due diligence to ensure that data systems are impenetrable and that they are in full compliance with privacy measures associated with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Under HIPPA, individual patients are afforded privacy rights over their health information. This includes who is allowed to access and view personal medical information. Additionally, a patient can request a copy of his or her own personal health records to review and, if necessary, amend them as well as a list of who has seen their records.

To be HIPPA-compliant, hospitals and health care organizations must take care to ensure that their own privacy policies and protections are sufficient and regularly updated. Additionally, hospitals must also make sure that the computer systems of any vendors they use are also HIPPA-compliant as they bear legal responsibility for violations that occur at every level.

Whether it is a violation committed by an employee or a vendor, hospitals that are facing legal action due to a HIPPA violation may be subject to both civil and criminal charges. An attorney who handles health care law matters can assist health care organizations in both preventing and mitigating legal issues related to HIPPA.

Source: Crain's Cleveland Business, "Tips for complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act," Kevin Goodman, Feb. 10, 2016, 

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights, "YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION PRIVACY RIGHTS," Feb. 12, 2016

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