Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act also known as HIPAA was passed in 1996 and only took effect on April 4, 2001, with strict compliance by the year 2003. Since time immemorial, there has always been an ethical obligation for Healthcare professionals to observe and protect patient’s privacy of health information. Therefore, the implementation of HIPAA seemed unnecessary. According to an article by Dr.
Harman, titled “HIPAA: A Few Years Later”, she states that “the federal government needed preemptive legislation that would supercede the state laws so that all patient information would be protected, regardless of where the patient lived or received health care” was the reason why HIPAA regulations were passed. This is where Portability and Accountability takes effect, such that patients would not lose their health insurance if they change jobs and the federal government may monitor any fraudulent act more effectively.
Since the new age has enveloped the electronic world, HIPAA aims to protect the privacy of patients more strictly. There are guidelines which indicate the necessity for authorization from the patient when records are released. Personally, I believe that HIPAA has been quite successful in containing private information and disseminating them to the appropriate parties. Complex technologies and softwares have been created to maximize the highest protection for accessing files in a database.
However, it could also be observed that with the new process of protecting privacy, loopholes could still be seen. Records from facilities may be kept confidential but patients themselves retrieve personal information from their own homes and presently, it is difficult to control access through those systems. Looking at the goals of the federal government, the projection of cost cutting because of transfer form paper-based files to electronic files seems a failure. The cost to educate employees and even patients has taken a toll on the government.
Also, it has become tedious for patients to claim from their insurances because of different identification numbers assigned to patients in every facility. However, I believe that this is only an adjustment stage. For the next few years, with careful analysis, HIPAA would be regarded as a routine rather than a stressful compliance with the law. In several years, professionals would be accustomed to HIPAA regulations and patient privacy will be a guarantee for patients.
REFERENCES DeNoon, D (2003, April 22). HIPAA Rules Explained:New Medical Privacy Rules Meant to Protect Your Health Records. WebMD Health News, Retrieved August 4, 2009, from http://www. webmd. com/healthy-aging/news/20030422/hipaa-rules-explained? page=3 Harman, L (2005, July 21). HIPAA: A Few Years Later . Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 10(2), Retrieved August 4, 2009, from http://www. medscape. com/viewarticle/506841