Maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of your medical records is governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. It makes sure that your health information does not get into the wrong hands and protects it from misuse. HIPAA had laid down certain rules and regulations which all healthcare organizations are required to follow.
Any violations of the HIPAA rules may lead to serious implications. Fines and even imprisonment may follow as a result of misuse. Generally, violations do not happen intentionally, rather they occur due lack of knowledge of the HIPAA rules on the part of the employees. It becomes the responsibility of the healthcare organization to make sure that all their employees who deal with patient records are trained. Once this is done, there will be a drastic decrease in the number of violations and your medical information will be safe.
Here are four major points as to how HIPAA training can help reduce the misuse of your health information.
• Awareness of the various rules and laws of HIPAA and understanding the reasons why these laws are implemented will help the employees to adhere to these rules as they handle your medical records.
• During the training, employees are taught about the privacy and security rules, implications, and results of non-adherence. Once they know all this, the employees will take special care to ensure that they are strictly following the regulations, thus resulting in minimal or no violations.
• On completion of this training, the employees are awarded a completion certificate, which is valid for a minimum of two years. Refreshes courses are provided at regular intervals. This is done so that the employee can be up to date with any amendments or changes in the HIPAA laws. It is necessary to be aware of the changes in order to maintain compliance of the rules.
• As patients, it is important for you also know about HIPAA, its rules and regulations, and results of non-compliance. This can help in preventing the violation of your health information, as you can keep a check on what is happening with your records. As you will be getting regular notices from the hospital, it is good to read it properly before signing as you do not want any compromise when it comes to the safety of your health information.
It is important that the patients are assured that their medical records are in the hands of responsible employees. Knowing that the employees handling their sensitive information have been properly trained will help them be at peace about its misuse. You must always make sure that the health care organization you are seeing strictly follows the HIPAA guidelines. It is good to keep a copy of your records at home so you can know if there are any changes made.