HIPAA Requires Certain Measures for EHR Confidentiality

September 9th, 2013 - By Andrey Ostashko

Key Points:

  • Confidentiality is a critical factor in developing trust when a patient’s information is used on EMR systems.
  • HIPAA ruling is clear that breaches of confidentiality will not be taken lightly.

Electronic Health Records & Confidentiality

Ensuring the confidentiality of electronic health records is a crucial factor in building trust between patients and providers. If the patient perceives any risks concerning the privacy of their information, they could quickly lose faith in their provider and the provider could face legal action.

The HIPAA Security Rule requires that certain measures be taken in order to keep patient information secure.  EHR systems include features such as access control and audit control. PIN numbers and passwords are access controls implemented to prevent the use of information by unauthorized individuals. Only those authorized, such as the patient’s doctors or nurses, can view the medical records. The audit controls the record and observes system activity to prevent illegal access.

Bizmatics offers the PrognoCIS Patient Portal which uses the access controls of a username and password to protect medical records. Through the Patient Portal, patients can view their lab results, schedule appointments, and message their doctor all from the privacy of their own home.

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, patients have the right to access their health information, whether on paper or through EHRs. The privacy rule states that patients should be able to:

  • Receive a copy of their medical record when requested
  • Be alerted when their patient data is being used or shared
  • Request a change to their medical history
  • File a complaint if any of their rights under HIPAA have been violated
  • Provide contact information for their healthcare provider

Keeping healthcare information protected is one key way that the provider can keep the patient/provider relationship intact. By following the rules of HIPAA, health care providers can make EHRs a safe and rewarding part of their practice.

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