A Look at Patient Rights Under HIPAA
Safeguarding personal health data of US citizens
HIPAA is federal legislation that is designed to safeguard the personal health
data of US citizens. Most of the entities that handle data about your health are required to adhere to
HIPAA, so every patient
should understand what their rights are under the legislation.
|In order to benefit from the HIPAA legislation, as a
US citizen you should understand
what your rights are and how is your health data safeguarded by those who have it.
Who Has to Follow HIPAA?
Any entities that are required to follow HIPAA are referred to as ‘covered
entities.’ These entities include some obvious examples, such as hospitals and healthcare facilities. However, many
people are unaware that health
plans, health insurance companies, nursing homes, and businesses that
process medical bills electronically all have to adhere to HIPAA regulations.
Businesses and organizations that are required to adhere to HIPAA regulations need
to make sure that they use specialist services for cloud data storage and retrieval to ensure HIPPA-compliance at
all times. Otherwise, personal medical data can inadvertently be exposed during retrieval and might become
accessible when it shouldn’t be.
Which Organizations Are Exempt From HIPAA?
While HIPAA is often presented as something that every organization that deals
with healthcare data must adhere to, there are actually several notable exceptions that patients should be aware of. For example, employers who hold basic health
information about you do not usually have to follow the Privacy and Security Rules of HIPAA. Similarly, schools
and school districts, as well as the majority of law enforcement agencies also are not required to follow these
Note that just because an organization is exempt from HIPAA regulations, that
doesn’t mean that they don’t have to keep your personal medical information private and secure; it just means that
they do not have to follow the specific requirements laid out in HIPAA.
What Information Is Covered?
The range of information that is covered by HIPAA is quite broad. In general, any
information that doctors, nurses, or other caregivers and healthcare professionals add to your medical record will
be covered by HIPAA. Any records of conversations between you and any of the aforementioned professionals are also
likely to be protected under HIPAA.
Any information about you that is stored by health insurance companies or payment
processors who handle your medical billing is also going to fall under HIPAA regulations. In fact, virtually any
information about your health that is held by a covered entity is going to be subject to the protections of
What Rights Do I Have Under the HIPAA Privacy
The most important rights of data subjects under HIPAA are:
● The ability to request a copy of any of your
health records that covered entities are holding.
● The ability to have errors in your health
information corrected by the entities that hold them.
● Be notified of how your health information is
going to be used and who it can be shared with.
● The right to deny permission for your health data
to be shared for marketing or other protected purposes.
● The right to request a report on how your
information is going to be shared and why.
If you are concerned that your rights under HIPAA are not being
respected then you can file a complaint with either HHS or with the entity that is holding your healthcare data.
Every US citizen should take the time to find out what HIPAA is and which situations it applies to.