Are Your Medical Records Safe?
Who has been looking at your medical records? According to an article in the News & Observer, you’ll soon be able to find out.
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), medical records are supposed to be private and protected. Every time you go to see a new physician, you will be asked to read and sign a summary of the HIPAA rule–that’s how seriously the U.S. government takes medical record privacy.
But in the age of electronic information storage and transfer, your privacy is more at risk than ever. That’s why the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is proposing chances to the privacy rule.
“This proposed rule represents an important step in our continued efforts to promote accountability across the health care system, ensuring that providers properly safeguard private health information,” said OCR Director Georgina Verdugo. “We need to protect peoples’ rights so that they know how their health information has been used or disclosed.”
People would obtain this information by requesting an access report, which would document the particular persons who electronically accessed and viewed their protected health information. Although covered entities are currently required by the HIPAA Security Rule to track access to electronic protected health information, they are not required to share this information with people.
What You Can Do
Officials are welcoming comments on the proposed new rule. To read the rule in full, click here: Federal Register: HIPAA PRIVACY RULE. You may submit your comments until August 1, 2011. Instructions for making a comment are included in the Federal Register article.