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2 Reasons Why HIPAA Privacy Rules Are So Important to an Individual

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 257

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was brought into effect way back in 1996 for better provision and management of health care cover for everyone. In addition, a set of Privacy Rules were introduced for protecting personal information of an individual by prescribing stringent guidelines for all the parties involved, as well as penalties for any kind of violation.

The following 2 points will tell you why the HIPAA Privacy Rules have gained so much importance in recent times.

•Basic Right: Every individual perceives their privacy as a basic right. The concept of privacy can however be difficult to define as its approach and meaning differs among individuals, and health care is no different especially due to the nature of the information involved. Whether it is your health insurance or medical treatment you will have to share a lot of personal information with a number of professionals. And just like you would not like a stranger entering your home, you would also be uncomfortable with the idea of sensitive information pertaining to your physical or mental health and even your finances being disclosed. HIPAA Privacy Rules address this right of yours by ensuring that your personal information can be accessed by the concerned people only and that too for certain specific purposes. Furthermore the law allows you to maintain your dignity and prevent any embarrassment due to disclosure of certain information. Thus it tries to instill trust in an individual for their doctors, nurses and other professionals, which is very important in health care.

•Public Concern: Certain personal information has to be shared with covered entities like health care providers, health plan and clearing houses for carrying out mandatory functions like dispensing treatment, billing and payments. Also such data has to be shared with law enforcement and several government agencies during emergencies and in public interest. Furthermore the use of an individual's private information may be allowed for specific purposes like research. Newer technologies and wider usage of computers are other factors that have made the protection of privacy more challenging. All these factors lead to a growing concern among the general public who felt that they had almost no control over their personal information and that it can be wrongly disclosed and misused. This coupled with fears of being discriminated on the basis of ethnic or genetic information lead to people providing incorrect or incomplete information or altering their behavior when interacting with health care personnel. To contain such growing concerns HIPAA has given the right to the people to authorize and restrict use of their data and even ask for changes to be made, thus giving an individual more control on how their data is managed.

Interestingly, HIPAA does not regulate the concerned parties directly or on a day-to-day basis but instead stipulates a number of restrictions on the use of personal information because it realizes that robust Privacy Rules will help in increasing the quality of data which will ultimately benefit the individual as well as the entire health care industry.

For more information, please visit our hipaa privacy website.

Source: EzineArticles
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