HIPAA Compliance in Sports Therapy, Sports Injury Prevention, and Rehabilitation

New Compliance Regulations Protect Patient Data

It is good to be able to keep some things private. It is important to keep some things private. One of the things that is both good and important to keep private is information about health. It can be difficult to do that though in a world where information is kept on computers, and those computers are connected to each other. That is why the American government passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is also known as HIPAA.

Before HIPAA was passed in 1996, not everyone in America agreed on the rules about health information. That meant that rules about health care information could be very different depending on where you were. HIPAA changed that. It gave everyone in the health care field the same set of rules about how to handle health care information. This means that how that information is handled is now more alike whether you are Texas or New York. HIPAA also meant making health information safer as new technology arose.

HIPAA is made up of two parts. There is the Privacy Rule, and there is the Security Rule. The Privacy Rule provides national standards for protecting certain types of health information. The Security Rule sets standards for how health information can be handled when it is in electronic form. All of this is overseen by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

So, HIPAA is divided into two parts. However, what does it do? Simply put, it helps to keep your personal health care information safer. It covers what is known as "personally identifiable" health information. That means stuff like results from blood tests, X-rays, health condition, and billing information. For example, you are worried about diabetes; you have a blood test to check your sugar levels. The results of that blood test would be protected by HIPAA.

HIPAA means that not just anyone can access your health care information. For example, your cousin could not call your doctor's office and find out about the results of your blood work. Another example, your daughter-in-law would not be able to call your doctor to ask about setting up a referral to a neurologist for you.

It also means that your information has to be stored and transmitted safely. For instance, under HIPAA, a doctor should not email the results of your blood test to you over an internet connection that is not secure.

While HIPAA can sometimes seem confusing, it does not need to be. What it comes down to is keeping patient information safe.

Steps for HIPAA Compliance

As HIPAA compliance relates primarily to protecting patient data, it is essential to have secure hosting for your patient files in today's digital world. You'll want to review a HIPAA website hosting list to select your preferred vendor. WebHostingProf.com is a good resource for finding a HIPAA compliant web host. Next you'll want to secure your employee computers with data privacy and protection software which is HIPAA compliant. It is also required to have an email server which adheres to HIPAA compliance standards, so sensitive communication regarding patients is not leaked. Finally, you may wish to hire outside guidance for your clinic from a HIPAA compliance specialist, or consultant. Also be sure to review the official HIPAA regulations as explained from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.