Whether it is a classification code or a lab result, consumer health information must be protected at all times. Privacy and security practices have also been impacted by changes in law and industry needs, and Health Information Management professionals are poised to lead the change!
Consumers are given many choices and options when it comes to their protected health information (PHI) and it is important for them to understand their rights under law. Every consumer has the right to:
• View and access their information
• Request and receive copies of their information
• Request confidential communications of PHI
• Request a correction or update to their health information
• Request a restriction to their health information (keep certain information from ever being released)
• Request an accounting of disclosures (log of where certain information was released as defined by law)
Consumers also need to know about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is encouraging the use of electronic health records. This law has led to an increase in the number of health information exchange organizations operating in the US. When healthcare providers share information, consumers see advantages: improved quality of care, increased efficiencies in the services provided, information available at the time of healthcare, and allowing consumers to make educated decisions about their care.