The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed in 1996 with the chief aim of protecting employees from health insurance benefits when they lose or change jobs, and for facilitating patient records through automation. It seeks to ensure patient privacy by establishing a set of national standards for electronic patient health information and what are called Business Associates and Covered Entities.
HIPAA ensures a set of patient rights. Patient Rights under HIPAA are given to give them the right to more information and also to be in control of their own health information. Accordingly, the following are the Patient Rights under HIPAA:
The Right to Receive a Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP):Patient Rights under HIPAA begin with the patient's right to receive a Notice of Privacy Practices. An NPP is a record or notice of the kind of information about the patient that is going to be shared. This is a primary Patient Right under HIPAA, as it describes in full how the medical information about the patient is going to be disclosed or shared with others. An NPP typically includes the patient's authorization for using this data, a section which will alert the patient's friends or relatives about a treatment, and many other important data.
The Right to Access Protected Health Information (PHI): The patient has a right to access the PHI relating to her. The patient can obtain a copy of the PHI that is contained in the patient records for any ailment except psychotherapy and for records that are legally restricted.
The Right to Amend PHI: Data contained in the PHI can be amended. This is among the Patient Rights under HIPAA, but the Covered Entity can deny this request, subject to some conditions.
The Right to an Accounting of Disclosures of PHI:This is another of the Patient Rights under HIPAA, whereby patients can receive an accounting of the disclosures about the patient records made by the Covered Entity over the past six years from which the request to exercise this right is made.
The Right to Request a Specified Method of Communication: Another of the Patient Rights under HIPAA; the Right to Request a Specified Method of Communication means that the patient has a right to choose or prefer what form of communication she likes being made to her by the Covered Entity. Some patients may choose to get notifications by mail, others by post, and so on.
The Right to Request Restrictions on Use and Disclosure of Health Information: This is another of the Patient Rights under HIPAA, whereby the patient can choose to restrict the type of person or entity with whom she chooses to disclose her personal health information. This Patient Right under HIPAA gives the patient the right to restrict the use and disclosure of her health information.