Being HIPAA compliant is not legally mandatory and all medical facilities are expected to remain within the legalities of this act. Those who don’t follow through face consequences as stipulated by the act.
It is important to understand how medical records are controlled and transferred in modern day medicine. If these records are not handled properly, the patients have legal rights in place to ensure they are treated properly.
HIPAA or “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” came about in the 90s as a way to standardize what was happening in the world of medicine. The records were not being administered well enough and that was a major concern.
Now EMRs are being handled with care and it is because of HIPAA and what it requires from those who are running practices.
Right To Access
The act gives patients the right to access at any point they deem fit. If there is a need to gain access to their record, the facility cannot withhold this information or they will be breaking the law.
They are also able to ask for multiple copies of the same record and the provider has to give it them to on the spot.
Withholding multiple copies without the permission of the patient is also illegal and does not fit under the act that was made in the 90s.
This makes it easier for the patients to know they have access to this information at all times.
Six Years Of Retention
The facility is expected to retain all patient information and maintain it for at least six years. After this, they are able to discard it (if not required).
The minimum amount is set so patients can access it later on and don’t have to leave it there without purpose. This is great for those who are switching facilities and/or moving. It makes it easier to retain access.
After six years, the HIPAA compliant facility does not have to bear responsibility for the record and get eliminate them as they deem fit.
The act is clear about this six year period.
There are certain entities such as medical providers who are allowed to access these record when they are being transferred over. There has to be a logical reason behind this transfer and it can’t be done without justification. A good example of such a transfer taking place would be if the doctor is seeking an additional viewpoint on a case. It could also be the transferring of patient information to a surgeon before surgery takes place.
These are covered entities under the act and can access all patient-related information.
EMRs have to be managed in a standardized manner or things would be all over the place. This was how it was done in the 80s and that was not conducive for what was needed. It was difficult for all involved to remain secure with the information and this also put patients in a horrible situation.
With HIPAA, it is easier to now remain standardized while managing EMRs.