What Are The Hipaa Laws Regarding Confidentiality – Since its enactment in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has aimed to provide privacy rights to patients, protect patients’ sensitive and personal health data from threats and attacks, modernize the flow of health data, simplify the administration of the healthcare system and prevent fraud in the healthcare system.
HIPAA regulations undergo frequent updates to adapt to new technologies and changing circumstances. Even companies that prioritize HIPAA compliance and securing PHI—or “protected health information”—face multiple obstacles that require constant vigilance and the ability to take quick action on data procedures and practices.
What Are The Hipaa Laws Regarding Confidentiality
In addition to frequent updates to the law, these challenges include constant threats of attacks on highly coveted data, interoperability issues, a gigantic influx of patient data every day, and many more.
Hipaa Confidentiality Agreement
HIPAA is a federal regulation that affects healthcare organizations and their affiliates and subcontractors. Regulated and enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR)—as well as some state regulatory agencies—HIPAA refers to these organizations as “covered entities.”
Protected health information (PHI) is the term used by HIPAA to describe any information about a person’s past or present health condition or treatment that can be used to identify them. This includes all records, documents and other information related to an individual’s diagnosis, payment history, care processes, claims processing, case management and dispute resolution activities; information about clinical trials; test results; mental health information; genetic information; biometric identifiers used for identification and more.
The HIPAA law requires that any covered entity—which includes health plans and medical practices, as well as any business involved in health care—protect all PHI data that comes into its possession or control.
PHI data under HIPAA may fall under a different category of personal information under other regulations. For example, while a social security number may qualify as PII (personally identifiable information) under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and PI (personal information) under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), it would be considered a PHI ID. according to HIPAA.
Key Laws That Regulate The Healthcare Industry?
To effectively manage sensitive data—especially those covered by more than one regulation—organizations need to deploy technology that can automatically locate, classify, map, and catalog all sensitive data and PHI across an entire data ecosystem with comprehensive coverage of all data systems and sources.
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The Privacy Rule under HIPAA gives individuals rights over their health information. Patients have a legal right to access and obtain copies of their health records – and to request that inaccurate or outdated information be corrected.
The Privacy Rule also requires covered healthcare organizations to take reasonable steps to ensure patient confidentiality, track disclosures, disclose only the minimum amount of information necessary to perform a specific function, and notify individuals of the use of their PHI.
Secure Document Shredding: How To Be Hipaa Compliant
The HIPAA requirements also state that covered entities must train staff on how to handle PHI—and designate a privacy officer to receive complaints about mishandled PHI.
While most disclosures require written authorization from the individual, HIPAA allows covered entities to disclose PHI without express consent in the case of facilitating treatment, payment or healthcare operations.
To correctly share data with the right people at the right time while ensuring patient confidentiality, organizations need full coverage of all their data, everywhere.
Enables organizations to know their data – all of it, across all types, in any language, in the data center or in the cloud, structured or unstructured, at rest or in motion, at petabyte scale – and enables workflows to delete redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT) data. This covers files and documents, images and mail, Big Data and more – no matter how siloed, hidden, older or hard to find the data is.
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The security rule under HIPAA covers three areas – and mandates that covered entities use best practices to protect PHI and ePHI (electronic protected health information) in the areas:
Essentially, the Security Rule mandates that organizations secure records, encrypt data, protect against breaches and malicious attacks, prevent loss or theft of devices, train employees in sound security practices, secure PHI with third parties, and dispose of records when appropriate—among other requirements.
With its scalable and extensible data protection functionality, healthcare organizations can reduce risk by effectively securing sensitive PHI across all security regulatory requirements—and leverage remediation workflows to act on high-risk and overexposed data. Get high-level permission analytics around targeted data sets based on category and type, and monitor users with access to large, sensitive data sets.
The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires covered entities that experience a data breach to report the incident. HIPAA requirements vary depending on how many patients are affected.
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This rule states that when these organizations disclose protected health information (PHI), they must take steps to limit the amount of information shared to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose of the disclosure.
In practice, this means that healthcare providers and other covered entities must make reasonable efforts to minimize the amount of disclosed PHI, whether in electronic or paper form. This is especially important in today’s digital age where personal information is easily shared and transferred.
It is important for healthcare organizations to be aware of the HIPAA Minimum Rule and implement the necessary measures to ensure they are in compliance and protect their patients’ sensitive information.
Legal Redaction: Ensuring Compliance And Confidentiality
The proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule include allowing patients to inspect their PHI in person, shortening the maximum time to provide access to PHI, limiting requests to transfer ePHI to a third party, allowing individuals to request that their PHI be transferred to a personal health application and require that covered entities inform individuals of their right to obtain or direct copies of their PHI.
In addition, covered entities will be required to publish estimated fee schedules for PHI access and disclosures, provide individualized estimates of fees for providing an individual with a copy of their own PHI, and respond to certain records requests when directed by an individual.
The requirement for written confirmation of the Notice of Privacy Practices has been dropped, and covered entities will be permitted to disclose PHI to avert a threat to health or safety under certain conditions. A minimum necessary standard exception has been added for care coordination and case management at the individual level and uses and disclosures.
When covered entities fail to comply with one or more of HIPAA’s provisions, they can incur steep fines and penalties. HIPAA violations fall into four levels that depend on:
Hipaa, The Privacy Rule, And Its Application To Health Research
Depending on the level, financial penalties range from a minimum penalty of $100 per violation to a penalty of $50,000 per violation. There are hundreds of possible reasons for a violation, but some common ones include:
With it, healthcare organizations can maintain detailed records of information systems and up-to-date information on audits – and be able to report on HIPAA compliance.
Internal audits and self-reporting reveal many HIPAA violations. Aside from that, OCR—the main enforcement agency for HIPAA—prioritizes the investigation of covered entities that report breaches of 500 or more records. OCR also conducts periodic audits of HIPAA-covered entities and business associates.
State prosecutors can also investigate violations. These investigations are often conducted due to complaints of potential HIPAA violations and in response to reports of breaches of patient records.
Laws And Regulations
To achieve and maintain HIPAA compliance with rules such as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, HIPAA Security Rule, and HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, healthcare organizations and their affiliates can implement a single data intelligence platform to gain full visibility into their data.
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Know your data: With , companies can discover, manage and catalog all their sensitive PHI and ePHI across the entire organization – no matter how bad – and enforce policies across all their data, anywhere.
Get full data coverage: Businesses need full visibility into all their data – not just part of it. provides broad coverage of unstructured, structured and semi-structured data, big data, data in motion and more – all in a single pane of glass.
Hipaa Compliance: What Does It Mean & Why Is It Important?
Monitor data quality: Maintain a comprehensive map of all PHI – on-prem and in the cloud – alert for breach risks and be able to report on all sensitive patient data for HIPAA compliance.
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Schedule a free 1:1 demo to see how you can empower your organization to achieve ongoing HIPAA compliance. Victim service providers need technology that
Hipaa Privacy Rule
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