The HIPAA Act was passed to protect the private medical records of the patients. Before 1996, there were no rules to protect sensitive medical information.
Due to this, most of the individuals were not able to apply for insurance cover. So in order to protect the interest of the patients, this law was passed.
As per this law, all healthcare providers need to retain the medical records of the patients. The Healthcare industry started taking measures to keep the data secure.
This law was initially meant to improve the insurance system and to increase the operational efficiency of healthcare facilities. However, later changes were made so that it can be beneficial for the patients as well.
Importance of HIPAA Medical Record Retention
HIPAA is very important for patients as it keeps all their medical records safe and secure. Here is why HIPAA is important for patients.
Health Data Privacy
This law helps the patients to keep their health data private. Nobody can access the data with the patient’s information. The data is encrypted, and only a few selected individuals have access to it. The healthcare provider needs to obtain permission from the patient to view all their medical records. It restricts all the individuals who can access the medical information to avoid sharing the data. It helps to maintain privacy. Even the business associates need to keep the information private. If there is a breach of information, there will be a heavy penalty.
Data Breaches Notifications
As per HIPAA medical record retention, the health care providers and the business associates are not allowed to share the medical records of the patients. It is the responsibility of the healthcare provider to take security measures to keep the data safe. However, if there is a breach of data, the patient needs to be informed. It will help the patient to take measures to protect their identity. The healthcare providers have a 60 days’ time period to keep informing the patient about the breach.
Health Data Security
Healthcare providers need to keep the medical records of the patient safe and secure. They need to take various security measures to prevent a data breach. Most healthcare providers store data in the database for making the administrative process easy. However, they need to keep the data physically safe in lockers and add passwords to devices. They need to take technical measures like data encryption, firewalls and anti-virus for data security. The need to train the employees who deal with the data to avoid data threats like phishing and online attacks.
Copies of Records
The patients have a right to demand copies of their medical records from the healthcare professionals. It helps them to send this copy to another doctor or medical professional for treatment. They can take an active role in maintaining their health. Patients can also demand directly transfer the records to another healthcare provider. They can give a copy for research purposes as well. It helps the patients to double-check their medical records with more than one doctor to get the best treatment plan.
These are the advantages of HIPAA medical record retention for patients in 2021. It helps to keep their medical records safe and secure.