The Legislation That Roared. (in Focus: A Message from the Editors)

Information Management, March-April 2003 | Go to article overview

The Legislation That Roared. (in Focus: A Message from the Editors)


If you don't know the significance of April 14, 2003, then you should find this issue of The Information Management Journal particularly enlightening. April 14 is the deadline by which most healthcare organizations must be in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. HIPAA is the first federal law to address health privacy in a comprehensive way. HIPAA's Privacy Rule seeks to protect patients' personal health information (PHI)--whether in the form of e-mail, fax, paper and voicemail records, or phone conversations--that is transferred to or maintained by a healthcare provider or its business associates.

Experts say HIPAA's Privacy Rule just might set a new standard for privacy in the United States. According to Ryan Barker, Privacy Council's chief privacy officer, "... we're going to see federal and state privacy rules and legislation go through for privacy in other areas. Ultimately, I believe all industries, sooner or later, are going to have some kind of privacy legislation that they have to comply with."

As Nikki Swartz explains in her article "What Every Business Needs to Know About HIPAA," HIPAA is the beginning of something that will affect all businesses--and, therefore, all records and information management (RIM) professionals--in one way or another. By understanding the regulation's potential impact, you can help ensure your organization is adequately prepared.

One of the goals of the HIPAA legislation is to mandate national (U.S.) standards for the electronic transmission of healthcare data to help prevent fraud and abuse and enable administrative simplification. The Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records (MoReq) specification, which was originally developed as part of a European Commission initiative, could help achieve this. …

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