HIPPA and Records Management
HIPPA and Records Mangement   







Although the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was first
passed into law by Congress in 1996, many are just learning about the massive
scope of the legislation and the many organizations that have obligations under
this law, even those who are not healthcare providers, hospitals, or health plans.

HIPAA is the first federal law to address health privacy in a comprehensive way.
HIPAA can be separated into three general areas: electronic transactions, privacy,
and security. At this time, only the regulations related to the electronic
transactions and privacy areas have been finalized.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule covers all identifiable information or personal health
information (PHI) about a patient that is transferred to or maintained by a
healthcare provider, including e-mail, electronic, fax, paper, oral, and voice mail
records, as well as phone conversations. HIPAA rules protect the information itself,
not the record in which the information appears. In other words, information does
not lose its protection simply because it is stored in or printed from a computer.

Even at this late date, much confusion exists in all industries regarding compliance
requirements, who must comply, and who need not worry about compliance. Most
healthcare organizations must comply with HIPAA's Privacy Rule by April 14, 2003,
but many other organizations, including a large number of employers, also will be
affected by this rule. In fact, HIPAA’s Privacy Rule will impact, at least indirectly, all
organizations in some way.

Therefore, records and information management (RIM) professionals must know
what the HIPAA Privacy Rule entails and be prepared to comply with its rules and
regulations. Even if an organization is not a healthcare-related organization and
does not have to comply with HIPAA, it still should implement a privacy policy and
actions for handling information correctly and protecting it from inappropriate use.

»Learn more about HIPAA and about records management solutions that enable
compliance by contacting TELA Technologies for a Document Management
Assessment.