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New HIPAA Laws:

The New Frontier for Patient Data Security



ROVIDERS HOPING to improve the quality of their healthcare delivery practices while sustaining viable businesses face a slew of new federal

mandates, as well as incentives to reach the goals of these mandates. One of the most significant areas healthcare organizations must navigate is patient data security. Since the release of proposed rules to enforce the Health

Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), compliance with privacy and security requirements under federal laws just became a little more complex. Privacy controls have always been required under HIPAA, but it wasn’t until the signing of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in the 2009 stimulus law that policymakers added enforcement strength to the legislation. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

(HHS) recently released its proposed rules to govern that enforcement policy. At their core, the proposed rules aim to strengthen patients’ consent over the use and disclosure of their personal health information (PHI). To accomplish that, policymakers have added limitations on


using PHI in marketing plans, enhanced patient access to their records, and increased financial penalties for data breaches. Providers are concerned that these regulations will

be confusing to implement, but they agree that better protection for patients is necessary as the industry moves toward adopting more health IT.

With Greater Data Security

Controls Comes Trust Greater patient access and control over the flow of electronic information will boost consumers’ trust in health information exchange and electronic health records, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) said, reacting to the proposed enforcement rules. “This is important, as our nation works to improve

the health of individuals by having accurate health information available where and when it is needed to treat patients,” said Rita Bowen, president of the AHIMA board of directors, in a written statement. “These proposed



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