The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, was passed so that patients could rest assured that their medical records remained confidential. If you work in a medical office or hospital, HIPAA regulations require that you provide your patients with secure messaging and phone services. If you are unclear on how HIPAA affects your relationship with your patients, read on to separate the myths from the facts about this act.
Myth: HIPAA blocks family members from receiving information.
A common myth about HIPAA is that this act prevents immediate family members from receiving information about their loved ones. The truth is that HIPAA provides patients with privacy and rights, without restricting information amongst families. If a patient consents to having his or her information shared, the doctor is free to speak with relatives.
Myth: HIPAA is more restrictive regarding mental health.
People of all ages and walks of life can suffer from mental health issues. Some patients worry that HIPAA provides additional restrictions regarding the sharing of mental health information. The fact is that HIPAA regulations apply nearly uniformly to both mental and physical health issues. Mental and physical health information are both protected under the law.
Myth: HIPAA places unfair restrictions on doctors.
Doctors are required by law to follow HIPAA guidelines. Some medical professionals worry, however, that HIPAA regulations are too restrictive. While HIPAA does protect patient privacy, doctors do have some leeway in reporting threats or immediate dangers. Overall, HIPAA ensures that health care is safe and confidential for all patients.
If you need help negotiating the ins and outs of HIPAA, get in touch with the team at Contact One. Our medical answering service near Tucson will help you to make sure that all of your patient communications follow federal laws and guidelines. Give us a call at (800) 278-3347 to learn more about how our secure messaging services can benefit your medical offices.