HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996. The HIPAA Privacy regulations require health care providers and organizations, as well as their business associates, develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared. This applies to all forms of PHI, including paper, oral, and electronic, etc. Furthermore, only the minimum health information necessary to conduct business is to be used or shared.
HIPAA laws will impact the day-to-day operations of all health care organizations that create, transmit or store data related to health care electronically. Health information regarding a patient is needed to the doctors, nurses and others so that they (patients) can be treated well. Without the authorization of the patients, no health organization can share the information related to patients with a life insurer. According to the regulations of HIPAA, a secure system, which protects the patient's information, is required by the doctors, pharmacies, health insurers and other healthcare providers. The steep increase in the paperwork that must be reviewed and signed during the first visit of the healthcare facility is the most noticeable change for the consumers of healthcare services. “Had the parties involved in the health care industry collaborated years ago to