What You Should Know About HIPAA and Medical History

Updated on December 3, 2019

There is no doubt that the enactment of the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US Congress in 1996 was a pivotal point in time for the security of private personal security in that jurisdiction. 

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Though the law was initially designed to allow workers to maintain their health insurance when moving from one company to another, there have been a number of changes of time that have taken into account the ever-changing environment that the digital world has instilled in relation to the storing and sharing of private data.

Keeping this in mind, here are a number of key information points in relation to the law.

1. HIPAA Prevents Sharing of Information with Family Members

You are allowed to share any PHI with anyone you wish once you have provided the correct written permission. Rather than try to understand all of the regulations some providers will tell you that this is not the case. They are incorrect and you must insist on your expressed wish to share the information, visit HIPAA Guide Net to read more about it. 

2. You are not the only person that can access your Medical Information

There are instances when many other individuals and organizations will be able to access your medical records without permission. Sadly, there is also a situation where some criminals may illegally obtain access to it as well.

3. Your Employers cannot access your healthcare history even if they pay for your Health insurance

Despite the fact that they may be paying for your healthcare as a benefit in kind, employers are not allowed to access your medical history. 

4. Under HIPAA you can conduct Email Correspondence with your Doctor

HIPAA allows the use of email between doctors and patients once health information is safeguarded. As the regular email that we use every day is generally not safeguarded at all it most physicians will not use this as a communication method.

5. You do not have a legal entitlement to obtain all records held in relation to your health

It could be the case that some records are withheld from you should your provided rule that they could be harmful to you. It is important to remember that these records cannot be withheld just because the provider believes they will upset you.

6. You cannot take legal action to gain access to withheld information

If information is being withheld on you that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides a process for you to use if you think your rights have been violated. There is no legal action but you do need to register a formal complaint through an online process.

7. Not all Groups are subject to HIPAA

All healthcare groups that manage PHI are bound by HIPAA. However, companies from outside this sector are not bound by the same legislation.

8. You can have mistakes corrected

This is a legal entitlement. However, companies may refuse to do this. In this case, you may write a dispute letter about the errors you have discovered. The provider or facility must include your letter in the patient file. They are holding on you.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.