Your protected health information includes past, current, and future medical data. Increasingly, this information is stored and shared electronically. New technologies have made this information more secure, and it has become easier than ever to keep it confidential. Implementing cloud computing and mobile devices in healthcare has made physicians and nurses more efficient, and social networking has given consumers more control over their healthcare. In this article, we will look at some ways that employers can protect their employees’ protected health information.
Generally, covered entities must obtain authorization before they use or disclose your protected health information for marketing purposes. However, they do not have to limit their marketing efforts to traditional methods. Public entities are permitted to use and disclose your health information for disaster relief efforts, such as providing aid to victims of natural disasters. Therefore, if you’re unsure if your organization needs your protected health information for marketing purposes, ask your employees to review your policy and ensure that it complies with federal and state laws.
Your company should make sure that its employees who handle PHI are following the minimum standard of confidentiality and do not discuss it with their coworkers. Many employees may encounter this information on a regular basis, including HR representatives, IT staff, health plan administrators, accounts payable, and company owners. These employees must exercise caution in handling this sensitive information. If they see any PHI, they should contact the Privacy Officer or the company’s privacy policies to ask for the information.
As the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act comes into effect, it is vital to protect patient health information. The Security Rule applies only to ePHI, and paper versions are not protected. Today, many business associates and covered entities handle ePHI, making it more difficult to protect these records. Because of this, HHS passed the Security Rule, which provides protection for ePHI. If an organization fails to do so, they risk incurring large fines and lawsuits. That is not good for the business’s reputation.
What is protected health information? PHI is any type of individually identifiable health information that is associated with a specific individual. It includes information about an individual’s diagnosis, treatment plan, insurance coverage, and demographic information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires that healthcare organizations protect PHI and implement measures to ensure its privacy and security. Its purpose is to prevent individuals from having their health information misused and mishandled.
The definition of PHI varies depending on the context. PII is generally any information that can be used to identify an individual. PII does not include education records. Education records are covered by other federal regulations. Employers are exempt from the protection requirements because employee-patient records do not contain PHI. Additionally, PHI does not cover information about the deceased person, which is considered PII. In some cases, PHI is necessary to provide care.