Monday, June 13, 2011

HHS, Privacy, and Your PHI

HHS Secretary Shecantbeserious may be relaxing some privacy rules:

"The Department of Health and Human Services says patients should have the right to see who has accessed their electronic health records."

The advent of HIPAA dramatically changed how I do business. For one thing, I can no longer routinely call up clients' docs to ask for help with medical records. It's more difficult (and time consuming) than ever to get answers from a home office. Keeping up with all the privacy rules threatens to become a second vocation.

But I don't feel any more secure, and I'm not convinced that my clients do, either. And I'm not sure that the new rules (as proposed) do much to allay those concerns:

"(P)eople would be able to request an "access report," which would name the particular persons who viewed their electronic health records ... it would not explain the purpose of that access."

If anything, I think this would engender even more distrust about the use of our private health information.
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