Healthcare Salad Dressing

 In our world there are certain times when completely opposite things are forced to work together in order to provide a necessary, and usually beneficial, outcome.  An example of this is a simple salad dressing: oil and vinegar.  No matter how often one may shake a container holding both oil and vinegar, eventually, the two part ways clearly separating.  So what does this have to do with health technology? Well, nothing directly, but the interplay between health information exchanges (HIE) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will be forced to exist together much like oil and vinegar.

A simple explanation of HIPAA’s purpose is to protect patient information in order to, among other things, decrease the likeliness of fraud and increase patient privacy.  On the other hand, health information exchanges, as the name suggests, attempt to simplify and encourage the exchange of patient health information across the healthcare industry.  As discussed in our previous blogs, HIEs are very useful in the medical field, especially in research facilities.  Even from the brief description above, it is clear that both HIEs and HIPAA are necessary in the modern healthcare industry.

Please check out the following information provided by the US Department of Health & Human Service for general guidance and information:

  • Introduction
  • Safeguards
  • Accountability
  • Collection, Use, and Disclosure Limitation