HIPAA and Electronic Health Record Security
The terms health record management are often used interchangeably to mean the system of systematic documentation of an individual patient’s health history and treatment overtime in one health care institution’s jurisdiction. But both systems of records are very different.
A typical health care system has a centralized collection and storage facility for patient information that are accessed by doctors, nurses and other staff members. This data is organized so that medical information can be retrieved quickly and efficiently when needed.
It is important that all employees are trained in how to access this information without disrupting other activities. However, health records may be maintained separately from the central health records. This arrangement is typically done when an employee has his own health insurance policy.
There are various benefits that come with having your own health insurance
One benefit is the ability to maintain your own health records. You can access your own records, which will include a description of your health status, your prescriptions, the doctor who treats you and the medications you receive.
In addition to maintaining your own health records, you can use the same health record management company to keep your insurance and other medical records. The health information stored in these records will be confidential, private and updated regularly to accommodate changes in medical practice, billing and coding standards and other regulatory requirements.
Some employers also choose to maintain their own private health records. These employers can share these records with their employees through their health insurance plans and/or through their employment-sponsored health programs.
The health information in this system is not necessarily kept separate from the employer’s personal health records. There are advantages and disadvantages to maintaining your own personal health records.
For instance, if you are self-employed or an unemployed worker, you will be responsible for maintaining these records. These records are confidential records. If you are employed at a job, you will need to make a good impression on your prospective employer if he or she finds out that you have been keeping a copy of your records in your own files.
Your record could be seized and used against you in an employment dispute with your employer
Another disadvantage to maintaining your own health records is the cost. Many health insurance companies have an agreement with health maintenance companies to pay for the maintenance and storage of the records for their employees.
These plans do not cover the costs of the individual health records themselves. The cost of maintaining the records can be very expensive. There are many options that can help with the management and preservation of health records.
In the past several new software and technologies have been developed to allow for easy creation and maintenance of electronic health records. Electronic health records are less likely to be opened improperly.
Also, medical information is often protected under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
The Health Information Exchange (HIE) has created rules and regulations for the proper storage and maintenance of health records. The Federal Information Security and Protection Act, which govern the storage and disclosure of confidential information in the workplace, makes it illegal for an employee to release confidential health information to anyone other than those who need to know it.
For example, HIE requires that a company not disclose information about its employees to insurance companies or other businesses that are not involved in providing health insurance. This law protects both an employee’s personal and financial information and his or her professional or medical history.
As part of HIPAA regulations, employers are required to secure their electronic health records by using the latest versions of
- Microsoft Encarta
- Microsoft Access
- Lotus Notes or Windows Live to provide protection against identity theft
When the security of electronic health records is compromised, the data can be remotely altered, deleted, altered or even falsified. By using encryption technology, an unauthorized party can easily get hold of this sensitive information and use it improperly for their own purposes. It is also illegal for an employee to share any of his or her electronic health records with a third party without first obtaining consent.
To guard against unauthorized access to the records, health maintenance companies also require the employee to sign a form that states that he or she understands the meaning of the encryption, the password and the security measures that are in place to safeguard the medical information.
Employees must give the employer the password and pass the data on to the company’s IT department in the event that the password becomes known to another employee. There are also a number of ways for the employee to check that the password is current, such as a code generated at a computer terminal at work.
If you choose to keep your medical information separate from your personal health records, there are steps that you can take to protect the privacy of the information. First, you should never reveal any confidential information to another person. Second, you can store your electronic health records in a different location, such as a secured server, in a network that does not allow unauthorized access.
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