Email, Health Information, and HIPAA
Over the last decade, electronic transfer of data has taken over almost every industry. From receiving bills, to doctor visit confirmations, email has far surpassed any other means of communication. The quick and easy exchange makes data transfer more accessible to everyone.
With ease of communication, concerns of patient confidentiality increase. HIPAA was enacted to provide security of electronic protected health information, while ensuring that consumers have easy access to their own protected health information. The regulations also explain how and when medical information about a patient could be disclosed to a person’s caregiver, family member, friend, and personal or legal representative.
Somewhere between the black and white of patient versus stranger, lies a gray area when a patient cannot provide verbal consent to disclose personal information to friends or relatives or others who may be involved with a patient’s care. Therefore, it is up to the physician to use his or her professional judgment to decide how to navigate this gray area. The information about an individual can be shared with friends or family or others involved in their care or payment for care, as long as the provider determines that it’s in the best interest of the individual.
As our world evolves, HIPAA regulations evolve to face new concerns. Caretech Group remains vigilant so that our company practices conform to and are in full compliance with any new or exiting regulations. As a result, this is one less area of concern for our clients.