The HIPAA Privacy Rule was first introduced in 2002 to protect patients’ privacy and healthcare information while allowing patient healthcare information to flow freely when it is required.
The US Department of Health and Human Services released the HIPAA Privacy Rule to regulate the use and release of personally identifiable information about patients and users of healthcare services.
Protected health information (PHI) is the term for this sort of information. The law was introduced to protect the privacy of patients.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to all organizations, not just healthcare providers.
It refers to any individual who might come into contact with sensitive information about a patient that, if exposed to a malicious third party, may put the patient’s assets or reputation at risk.
Who does the Privacy Rule apply?
Covered entities and their business associates are entitled to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
A health plan, a healthcare clearinghouse, or a healthcare provider is examples of covered entities.
Subcontractors, as well as business associates of business associates, must obey the rules. If your organization might have access or the ability to access PHI, HIPAA applies to you.
What Is Information Protected Under HIPAA?
In any medium or format—files, text, audio, video, or verbal communication—the Privacy Rule protects a patient’s health information and any identifying information. Private health information contains all of the following:
- Birth, death or treatment dates, and any other dates relating to a patient’s illness or care
- Telephone numbers, addresses, and other contact information
- Social Security numbers
- Medical records numbers
- Finger and voiceprints
- Any other unique identifying number or account number
The Privacy Rule establishes guidelines for protecting a person’s medical history and other personal health information (PHI).
It controls the uses and disclosures of PHI and the rights of individuals to access and monitor their medical information.