The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 Essay

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 Essay

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The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) affects every aspect of health care from patient privacy to insurance coverage. The federal act was first passed in 1996, yet the first major rule did not go into effect until 2003, protecting patient privacy. HIPAA ultimately came into effect due to the issues regarding patient privacy, security and coverage. Another major concern for both health care workers and the public was the exchange of patient information from one facility to another. Until the relatively recent decision to enforce HIPAA, a patient’s medical record was primarily recorded and maintained on paper and stored in locked cabinets or drawers. Not only was this method inefficient, but patients were also starting to become increasingly concerned over the privacy of these documents.
Recognizing the advantage of computers that were now able to obtain electronic files, Congress called for a more standardized approach in regards to storing patient information. Under HIPAA, the idea was that creating a standard system would increase flexibility when communicating between hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies, providing more time to be spent on the quality of patient care that was being provided. In addition, the goal was that electronic record storage would allow instant tracking and analysis of data in order to cut down costs and easily access trends that could have major impacts on patient care.
While the intent of HIPAA was to improve all of these aspects of health care, there have been both advantages and disadvantages that have resulted from this system. As previously discussed, one of the major benefits of HIPAA was supposed to bring about a cut in hospital costs. However, man...


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HIPAA: Patient Rights. (n.d.). OSHA. Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/about/services/integrity/ips/regulations/upload/Patient-Rights- 2.pdf
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