In a new statement, recently posted on the Health and Human Services (HHS) website, that organization noted the need for increased changes to the HIPAA privacy rule, focusing on the patients in particular. To accomplish this, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Director Jocelyn Samuels put forth a series of goals that the department hopes will educate individuals about HIPAA rights.
Samuels specifically said that the OCR is doing the following:
- Developing new tools for understanding health information access in conjunction with the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team.
- Outlining clear similarities between HIPAA and the HITECH Act as part of a recently released fact sheet.
- Providing guidance for what information individuals have a right to from a covered entity.
Politico noted the amount of commendations the department received for its efforts at improving clarity. Among these is Lynne Thomas Gordon of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), who put this in the context of their own organization.
"We're enthusiastic about sharing these new resources with our members, many of whom serve as liaisons between patients and health care providers, to improve the availability of health information across the health care landscape," Gordon said. Other organizations to support HHS' efforts mentioned by the source include the GetMyHealthData Campaign and ACT|The App Association.
HIPAA compliance consulting professionals can take providers further in their efforts to best serve patients by recognizing the latest risks to this policy. They can also allow entities the chance to improve their chances of beating HIPAA violations through a comprehensive audit. This action can help put the organization's current status into perspective for a more effective improvement.