The Federal Register has reported that changes are likely to be made for HIPAA rules concerning disclosure of patient information. The new rule under consideration would give patients access to information detailing how their electronic health records have been handled by businesses who are covered by HIPAA regulations. This includes allowing patients to see all outside companies that your business has disclosed medical records to. From the press release:
“The purpose of these modifications is… to account for disclosures of protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, and health care operations if such disclosures are through an electronic health record.”
The changes, if made, likely will not take effect until sometime next Spring, 2012. Nevertheless, now is a good time to make sure that your partners follow HIPAA regulations, especially if disclosing patient information to them is vital to your operations. You can read (and comment on) the proposed changes at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/news/hitechnewsonaccountingdisclosure.html. Learn more about HIPAA and the answering service industry here.