The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a landmark piece of legislation. HIPAA was introduced in 1996, primarily to address one particular issue: Insurance coverage for individuals that are between jobs. Without HIPAA, employees faced a loss of insurance coverage when they were between jobs.

A second goal of HIPAA was to prevent healthcare fraud and ensure that all ‘protected health information’ was appropriately secured and to restrict access to health data to authorized individuals.

Privacy Rule :

HIPAA privacy regulations generally apply to any company or service provider who has access to your health records. The regulations provide specific rules regarding using, disclosing and destroying health care information that someone could trace back to you.

Some benefits that HIPAA plays:

  • Fosters a culture of compliance and common understanding of “the right way” to handle patient information
  • Ensures that every member of a healthcare organization understands the practices necessary to protect both the privacy and security of patients’ and thus create a ‘human firewall’ against a data breach. 
  • Teaches staff that protecting patients’ PHI is just another aspect of keeping patients safe – as important as infection control, fall-prevention, and medication safety measures.
  • Promotes careful handling of PHI to improve patient satisfaction and increases.
  • Increases healthcare provider’s awareness and provides specific instruction about how to keep patients’ records safe.
  • Eliminates providers’ need to choose between speed of communication and legal risk by sharing PHI in accordance with HIPAA regulations
  • Reduces executive and organizational liability.
  • Protects the organization and staff from personal liability. Staff training is required by law.
  • Allows for positive differentiation among competitors, as HIPAA compliant practices are seen as more secure as it relates to patient information.
  • Helps build a foundation for future technology implementations.
  • Proactively helps organizations avoid expensive add-on security measures.
  • Reduces medical errors, increase patient satisfaction and trust, improves quality of care, and create operational efficiencies.