Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enacted and ratified in 1996 to transform the flow of healthcare information. Before the creation of HIPPA health information were documented in paper form but there was dire need to digitalize health data. Health data and information faced a myriad of security challenges that threatened privacy. Some individuals could access health data from nurses, doctors,technicians,administrators, clerical staff, as well third party individuals in the healthcare such as billing and coding organizations, medical supply entities, healthcare plans, researchers and pharmacists.

At the time there was no federal restriction on health data, but there existed a series of disjointed industry-specific policies. In other words, health information privacy not regulated by any law. The Congress instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to relook at the issue of protection of health data and privacy. The HIPPA law was to provide a health sector with a set of common standards aimed at ensuring all healthcare providers across the country comply with a flexible, scalable framework. HIPPA objective was to create standard electronic health codes for the transaction in the sector. HIPPA primary goal was to enhance privacy, and the HHS helped to establish and finalize privacy policies by 2000.

The act has caused tremendous effects in the healthcare sector whereby a patient right to healthcare information is guaranteed. The law has reinvented delivery of healthcare services, and patients are directly involved in the management of their healthcare data in the ICT era. Furthermore, patient privacy and security in healthcare delivery is enhanced. Consequently, patient confidence and public trust have significantly increased.  In conclusion,  the HIPPA act has wholly changed healthcare service delivery to patient-centered.

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