Health Care Data Privacy Day

health information management

This Sunday is Data Privacy Day. It's a great opportunity to discuss why data privacy is so important when it comes to Health Information Management. We enlisted the expertise of RaTonya Stephens, RHIA, Program Director of the Health Information Management program at Concorde’s campus in Memphis, Tenn. to get to the heart of the matter. Here is what Stephens had to say.

Data privacy and security is an important aspect of Health Information Management

Data privacy and security has been an important piece of the Health Information Management (HIM) profession, Stephens said. It can be very challenging to maintain the privacy and security of patient information. That’s true even more so today with information being distributed via electronic medical records/systems. There also is a constantly changing legislative and regulatory environment that includes the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) as well as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Stephens said it’s the job of Health Information Management professionals to use their expertise to protect health information. Also, ensure the right information is available to the right people at the right time. “HIM professionals make sure privacy and security programs meet compliance and regulatory requirements,” she said.

Regulations require Health Information Management officials

HIPAA rules require that an organization have a privacy officer and/or security officer, Stephens said. These roles tend to be held by HIM professionals because they have knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations. “Privacy/security officers may work with others in the organization to assess risks to the health information,” Stephens said. “They also develop policies and procedures required to minimize the risks to health information. “It is also important to develop and monitor training programs to ensure the effectiveness in educating staff on the privacy requirements.” According to Stephens, some privacy issues include protecting portable devices, monitoring identity theft, controlling access to the electronic medical record and other information systems and much more. “HIM professionals should strive to identify risks to patient information as well as educate other health care professionals and the public on privacy and its importance,” she said.
health information management

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