How Do You Know Your Private Medical Records Are Really Private?

Have you ever overheard a doctor or nurse talking about a patient in a public area such as an elevator or hospital cafeteria? Has a nurse ever tried to excuse her tardiness by telling you about the patient she saw before getting to you? How often have you wondered about whether your doctor or nurse talks about you in public? Even worse, now that Inova is using the online record-keeping system MyChart, are you worried about the security of your medical records? Even though mistakes can still be made, there are government policies in place to help ensure your patient privacy rights.

Legality of Medical Record Privacy

The proper care and protection of patient rights is a huge concern for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The agency wants to ensure that citizens are getting proper care and are being treated respectfully while getting that care. In order to ensure these rights, HHS has developed policies to monitor hospitals’ actions and protect the rights of their patients.

One such policy is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Under HIPAA, the Office for Civil Rights enforces the following rules:

  • Privacy rule: protects the privacy of patient health information.
  • Security rule: sets national standards for the security of electronically-protected health information.
  • Breach notification rule: requires hospitals and clinics to notify HHS if health information was breached or stolen from an unsecured location within the business.
  • Patient safety rule: provides confidentiality provisions to protect information being used to treat patients or improve patient safety. For example, if you’re rushed to an emergency room and are unconscious, the ER doctor will be able to pull up your medical records in order to check for health concerns, even though you didn’t provide express consent.

Advocating for Your Medical Privacy

When your privacy is violated by a hospital, you need someone in your corner who understands the law and can help get you the settlement you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation. Don’t let your doctor or hospital get away with publicly sharing your medical records. Call now!

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