Medical Records And Their Confidentiality is something that is a major issue in today’s society. While some mishaps, such as computer hacking and medical information getting into the wrong hands can happen, for the most part, I feel that patients can be reassured that their medical information is secure. I will highlight these reasons in this essay.
First off, legislation has been enacted that protects unauthorized access to patients’ medical records. The HIPPA Act, first enacted in 1996 with some changes to the act since that time, only gives the patient and people that the patient has granted as representatives to gain access to the patient’s medical records. Nobody else can gain access to these medical records without permission from the patient .
A Notice of Privacy Act, which may also be signed by the patient, is given to the individual by one’s health care provider. This notice must state how the patient’s health information will be shared and the heath care privacy rights that the patient can expect. If an unauthorized family member or friend contacts the patient’s physician and asks for personal information, the information cannot be given out without the patient’s permission .
All states are governed by strict HIPPA laws that prevent medical records from being released to unauthorized parties. In most states, hospitals and physicians must also provide patients with their medical records within a reasonable duration, usually by 30 days, when asked for these records. The fact that there is a process that needs to be followed in terms of medical records shows that a patient’s privacy is respected and care is taken to provide these records. Some states have even stronger laws that go beyond what HIPPA requires them to do. States such as New York State must let the patient see their records within 10 days of the request .
The patient also has other rights. If the patient feels that one’s privacy rights have been broken, the patient can call the United States Department of Health and Human Services and file a complaint against the medical provider .
As you can see, HIPPA laws greatly ensure that a patient’s medical records are secured and not released to unauthorized people. The patient can also file a complaint if he or she feels that the medical records’ confidentiality have been compromised.
- Individual access to medical records: 50 states comparison . (2012). Retrieved from Health Information and the Law Project : http://www.healthinfolaw.org/comparative-analysis/individual-access-medical-records-50-state-comparison
- Notice of privacy practices. (2016). Retrieved from HHS.gov Website : http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/notice-privacy-practices/index.html