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HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was endorsed in the year 1990 as part of the health care reforms in the United States. The act required that the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop standards and requirements that would disperse and maintain the health information concerning an individual patient. The laid standards aimed at improving the competence and effectiveness of the health systems by standardizing the manner in which electronic data for administrative and financial transactions are exchanged, and to safe guard the security and privacy of electronic health information. The bill was implemented in the year 2003 for the majority of the health providers (Rinehart-Thompson et al., 2009). The policy applies to hospitals, healthcare providers, employers, public authorities, life insurers, and universities. This paper analyses the HIPPA policy, its nature, sources, and functions of the policy.
Two principal rules were in print by the Department of Health and Human Service and imposed by the center for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Office of Civil Rights to govern HIPAA. The first rule is the privacy rule. It required the involved organizations to spot the uses and leaks of protected information, enforce necessary security measures against unauthorized use and exposure of the protected health information, and tackle the problem once encountered. The second rule is the security rule, which required the administrator to protect the electronic health information against external attacks such as unauthorized deletion, modification, and transmission. The organizations had to act in accordance with the rules, and failure to do so disciplinary action is taken against them which included a penalty of US$25,000 for multiple desecrations of same customary in a calendar year. There is also a penalty of US$250,000 or ten years detention for a known misappropriation of individually exclusive health information (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d).
The security measures enacted to protect the patient’s information include creating accounts and secret passwords for login purpose. The system has to log-off automatically. A correct password and a login identity should be provided for authentication. Screen savers should be set to darken the screen if the system has not been used in a given duration. The screen and can be activated by a mouse click or by entering your login identity and password. Those that access the patient information should have authority and frequent audit is conducted to take statistics on how the accounts are accessed. Information in call centers should be encrypted whenever data are sent over the network to protect it from hackers. If a complaint against violation of the rules is brought forward, it has to be investigated by Department of Health the U.S Department of Health and Human Service, Center for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d).
Organizations that implemented the HIPPA policy had to store their data in electronic devices such as computers. These led to the elimination of paper work thereby saving time for information retrieval, space, and improved operational competence. The disadvantages figured include the use of a patient’s private information for marketing without the patient’s knowledge. The other one is that an individual is not allowed to sue somebody under HIPPA when the past record may be available.
In conclusion, the HIPPA policy has proved to be beneficial to many that embraced it in terms of security and privacy. The disciplinary measures taken have played a significant role maintaining the standards that had been set because privacy and security are very vital factors in Health Information Management in the 21st century. HIPAA allows for the creation of an environment where there is commitment and confidentiality, which plays a great role in medical care.