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AHIMA: New HITECH Modifications to Impact All Patients

'A New Era in Healthcare Privacy and Security Begins Today'

CHICAGO, Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The long anticipated final rule and just announced Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act modifications to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy and security regulations will have far-reaching implications for every patient's health records. An analysis will be forthcoming from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the preeminent not-for-profit association representing the HIM professionals who will be on the front lines implementing the rule.

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"The final rule stands to change the practice of healthcare privacy and security as we know it," said AHIMA's CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. "It is a new era and it begins today. AHIMA will continue to lead the way in helping health information management professionals modify organizational policies and procedures to be compliant with the new rules."

AHIMA's leadership is studying the complete text of the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Civil Rights rule to interpret its scope. But a few points can be made immediately:

  • Patients have expanded rights to access and restrict disclosure of their health records
  • Several of the security requirements have been expanded with the increased use of electronic health records and electronic patient access

One particular implementation issue AHIMA highlighted is how to manage a patient request to restrict only a portion of his medical records.

"Some other 'bolt-on' tracking system will need to be utilized to track and remind staff of a restriction on file," said AHIMA's Director of HIM Solutions Angela Dinh Rose, MHA, RHIA, CHPS.

Other areas the rule covers are:

  • Notifying patients if the security of the health records is breached
  • Enforcing HIPAA
  • Implementing changes to HIPAA's privacy and security standards
  • Modifying HIPAA's privacy rule in accordance with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

Live webinars to discuss the rule's facets will be available for free to AHIMA members and for $59 for non-members. Visit ahima.org to find the schedule and registration information.

Representing more than 67,000 specially educated Health Information Management professionals in the United States and around the world, the American Health Information Management Association is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA's enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. www.ahima.org

SOURCE American Health Information Management Association

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