As we prepare for Valentine’s Day and the celebration of love with hearts and cupids, we are reminded that everything that we do is defined from purpose and intent. Valentine’s Day dates back to the 5th Century as a dedicated day for people to show their love and respect for one another.
Just as with any holiday or dedicated day, HIPAA has a defined purpose and intent. It wasn’t created to put challenges and burdens onto healthcare organizations and business associates. It wasn’t created to block patient care and make it impossible to share protected health information. HIPAA was created with a purpose and intent, to provide protections and rights to protected health information. Understanding the heart of HIPAA can help an organization evaluate and successfully implement the regulations.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule, which was mandated in 2003, has three distinct purposes. Each of the purposes was created with intent of adding protections and enhancements to how healthcare organizations safeguard protected health information. The Privacy Rule doesn’t focus on a media type of protected health information – but rather focuses on all patient information regardless of medium. The three main goals of the HIPAA Privacy Rule are:
- protect and enhance the rights of consumers by providing them access to their health information and controlling the inappropriate use of that information;
- to improve the quality of health care in the U.S. by restoring trust in the health care system, and
- To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health care delivery by creating a national framework for health privacy protection that builds on efforts by states, health systems, and individual organizations and individuals.
The HIPAA Security Rule, which was mandated in 2005, took protecting information to the next level with the focus on information that is created, stored, transmitted, and maintained in an electronic format. With the increase in the amount of electronic protected health information, the main purpose of the HIPAA Security Rule is to
- Establish the minimum requirements to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of electronic protected health information.
Looking to the heart of the requirements and why the privacy and security requirements were created can help healthcare organizations overcome the frustration and concerns that are created when evaluating and implementing the regulation requirements. Remember as we get ready to prepare for the day of love and celebration of hearts, HIPAA has a heart and looking to the basics and understanding what the intent of the heart is can be beneficial.
Celebrate the Heart of HIPAA!