Health Care System Responds to New Privacy Rules

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 7, 2003

As a follow-up to my posting, HIPAA Security Standards Final Rule Published, see this New York Times article from April 6, Health System Warily Prepares for Privacy Rules. The new standards, effective April 14, require the health care industry to implement new privacy protections related to the disclosure of patient data.
For another perspective on the privacy implications of these changes, see HIPAA Basics: Medical Privacy in the Electronic Age, a new fact sheet from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. This guide offers responses to nine sets of questions about the protections and loopholes in the new standards, along with useful links to applicable documentation from government and advocacy organizations. I bring to your attention this statement from the beginning of the guide: “If you expect HIPAA to restore your confidence that sensitive medical data is a matter between you and your doctor, you will be disappointed. HIPAA sets the standard for privacy in the electronic age where health industry, government, and public interests often prevail over the patient’s desire for confidentiality.”

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