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Make Sure Your Mental State Is Not Revealed

Make Sure Your Mental State Is Not Revealed

Privacy is important to everyone. You might not be concerned about some of your information right now, but somewhere down the line you certainly will be. A lot of people like to keep matters about their health in confidence. It can be a personal preference, but to all, this is something that the law protects no matter who you are.

One of the many challenges that have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic is how to keep personal health data secure as today, we communicate with our health providers mostly online.

Through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), your right to have control over your protected health information (PHI) is recognized. This means that no data pertaining to you and your health is allowed to be released without your consent. Considering the massive amount of material we already have out there about us, it pays to be aware of how our data are being handled.

Every time you fill out a form or you share PHI to a health practitioner, all of those records end up in a database somewhere and that makes them covered by the HIPAA. A lot of the time, we do not meet the people who have access to this information. The most control we can exercise when we reveal our PHI is at the beginning, when we choose how we give it away.

Living in the time of COVID-19, something that has been greatly affected is our mental health. A few months into the pandemic, a federal distress hotline reported a 1000% increase in calls compared to the same period last year. Experts are ringing alarm bells for the mental health crisis that we must also brace ourselves against.

As of this writing, there are nearly 8 million people who have been infected with the coronavirus in America. But there are millions more out there staying in their homes, suffering in their own states of isolation. The best way to keep your mental health in check is to find somebody to talk to and this means that millions of people speak with health practitioners online or over the phone daily. With all of the worries on top of people’s minds, it can be easy to forget to be careful with our data.

The burden to comply with the HIPAA really lies with healthcare workers and their associates but responsibility for our personal privacies is a two-way street. As a patient, you might not be aware of how the rules must be conveyed to you. A good thing to note is that for HIPAA compliant messaging to occur, communication must be done over secure channels. This rules out texting on smartphones a lot of the time, since text messages cannot be guaranteed to be secure. As much as possible, you must not attach personal identifiers in messages that can be traced back to you, including your full name, date of birth, and especially address.

It is tough to keep ourselves physically as well as mentally fit in this pandemic. What we do have full control of is how we share our information with everybody else. Make sure that you are revealing only details that you are comfortable to share and you are talking only to the right people.

Privacy is important to everyone. You might not be concerned about some of your information right now, but somewhere down the line you certainly will be. A lot of people like to keep matters about their health in confidence. It can be a personal preference, but to all, this is something that the law protects no matter who you are.

One of the many challenges that have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic is how to keep personal health data secure as today, we communicate with our health providers mostly online.

Through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), your right to have control over your protected health information (PHI) is recognized. This means that no data pertaining to you and your health is allowed to be released without your consent. Considering the massive amount of material we already have out there about us, it pays to be aware of how our data are being handled.

Every time you fill out a form or you share PHI to a health practitioner, all of those records end up in a database somewhere and that makes them covered by the HIPAA. A lot of the time, we do not meet the people who have access to this information. The most control we can exercise when we reveal our PHI is at the beginning, when we choose how we give it away.

Living in the time of COVID-19, something that has been greatly affected is our mental health. A few months into the pandemic, a federal distress hotline reported a 1000% increase in calls compared to the same period last year. Experts are ringing alarm bells for the mental health crisis that we must also brace ourselves against.

As of this writing, there are nearly 8 million people who have been infected with the coronavirus in America. But there are millions more out there staying in their homes, suffering in their own states of isolation. The best way to keep your mental health in check is to find somebody to talk to and this means that millions of people speak with health practitioners online or over the phone daily. With all of the worries on top of people’s minds, it can be easy to forget to be careful with our data.

The burden to comply with the HIPAA really lies with healthcare workers and their associates but responsibility for our personal privacies is a two-way street. As a patient, you might not be aware of how the rules must be conveyed to you. A good thing to note is that for HIPAA compliant messaging to occur, communication must be done over secure channels. This rules out texting on smartphones a lot of the time, since text messages cannot be guaranteed to be secure. As much as possible, you must not attach personal identifiers in messages that can be traced back to you, including your full name, date of birth, and especially address.

It is tough to keep ourselves physically as well as mentally fit in this pandemic. What we do have full control of is how we share our information with everybody else. Make sure that you are revealing only details that you are comfortable to share and you are talking only to the right people.

 

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