HIPAA ”“ the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (1996) is the legal act that protects health insurance coverage for workers when they change or lose their job. The act aims at the protection of employees and availability of health care services to all citizens.
Health Information ”“ the information related to the state of the health of a patient, including the history of patient’s illnesses and changes in health of the patient. Traditionally, this information is private and available only to health professionals treating a patient.
Data accessibility ”“ in health care system, the data accessibility implies the information concerning a patient’s health that may be available to health care professionals or other people, including a patient him- or herself, who have the right to get the information on patient’s health.
Data relevancy ”“ in health care system, the data relevancy refers to data concerning the health of patients which is interconnected. The data include all the information about the health of patient, the data are accumulated processed and stored to enable health care professional to process the data and connect all the information available to them to identify health problems or threats a patient can face.
Protected health information ”“ the private information concerning the patient’s health which cannot be publicized or be available to people other than the patient and heath care professionals involved in the treatment of the patient.
The regulation of the provision of healthcare services is very important, today, because health care professionals have access to private information of patients that exposes the latter to the risk of information breaches and unauthorized access to their private information. In order to protect the rights of patients, a number of legislative initiatives have been implemented. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As for the HIPAA, this act focuses on two domains: on the one hand, the HIPPA protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs; on the other hand, the HIPPA requires the establishment of national standards for electronic healthcare transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers (Limentani, 395). The major purpose of the HIPAA is to control the availability of healthcare services due to insurance coverage issues and the security of private information, the breaches of which can be harmful for patients as well as healthcare organizations and other parties concerned. The HIPAA’s guidelines are based on the norms of the act which clearly define all the issues the act covers, including insurance and security of information. In such a way, the HIPAA contributes to the protection of large masses of the population and secure their rights to receive health care services.
Health information is traditionally very important for patients and health care professionals because it is an essential condition of the efficient treatment of patients. Today, health care professionals agree that the detailed health information is crucial for the adequate diagnosis of health problems of patients and their treatment. What is meant here is the fact that health care professionals gather the information on the health of patient in the course of his or her life. The health information provides health care professionals on data which are specific to each individual patient and, on the basis of this information, health care professionals can define specific health problems, the patient is facing. Through the accurate diagnosis on the basis of the health information, health care professionals can develop efficient strategies of treatment. In this regard, some specialists (Limentani, 1999) point out that the more information about the health of patient and changes in health of patient is available to health care professionals the more accurate diagnosis and the more efficient treatment are.
In the contemporary health care system, data accessibility is also very important because often health care professionals are unable to get all the information about the patient’s health, if this information was not recorded since the birth of the patient. Today, data concerning the health of patients are thoroughly recorded and available to health care professionals involved in the treatment of patients. The data accessibility also evokes ethical and legal issues since health information should not be available to third parties without patient’s consent, but sometimes data concerning health of a patient may become available to third parties because of information breaches in health care information systems. Such information breaches violate privacy rights of patients. At the same time, health care professionals can benefit from data accessibility, especially when they can get all the history of a patient’s health problems and treatment.
Data relevancy is significant in the contemporary health care services because health care professionals need to correlate the information concerning the health of patients in order to diagnose the health problem patients suffer from. At the same time, it is important to verify the extent to which data health care professionals receive or have are relevant to the current state of the patient. The data relevancy is particularly important in regard to patients with chronic health problems. Therefore the data relevancy can be applied in the treatment of a patients with such diseases as diabetes to trace changes in the health of patient and compare the changes to the normal state of patients. If negative are identified, health care professionals can respond immediately to such changes preventing the deterioration of the patient’s health.
The protection of health information is probably one of the major concerns of the modern health care system and health care professionals.
In this respect, it is necessary to lay emphasis on the fact that the protected health information is the private information which concerns the fundament right of patients ”“ the privacy right. In actuality, the protected health information is available only to health care professionals treating a patient. This information cannot be available to third parties because it can be offensive to a patient and influence negatively his or her social position, personal life or professional career. Moreover, the protected health information is legally banned to be available to public or third parties without consent of patients. In this regard, it should be said that cases when protected health information becomes available to third parties are trailed as cases of professional negligence from the part of health care professionals who failed to protect this information from breaches. In such a way, health care professionals have to insure the safety of protected health information.