The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced a new toolkit to help physicians navigate the sweeping new revisions to the federal privacy and security rules for health information that go into effect on September 23, 2013.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule last January that revises and extends required safeguards for protected health information established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. The rule expands the individual rights of patients, including tightening requirements on physicians when patient information is breached. The result is that physician practices could face more legal scrutiny and higher fines in case of an information breech.
“Understanding the implications of the modified privacy rule can be daunting for busy physician practices,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. “The AMA stands ready with expert resources and effective tips that will help physicians meet the new requirements for protecting highly sensitive patient information as more data becomes digitalized.”
The AMA’s new toolkit provides guidance to help physicians review and update their existing HIPAA policies and procedures with an easy to understand breakdown of the revised rule, including encryption safeguards for electronic patient information. Physicians will need revised privacy notices to share with patients, as well as new agreements with business associates that handle patient data. The AMA provides updated templates of these important documents that physicians can use to conform with changes to the privacy rule.
The HIPAA toolkit and templates are available free to all physicians on the AMA website at www.ama-assn.org/go/hipaa.