Increasing patient engagement is a critical element of the ongoing efforts to improve the quality and reduce the cost of health care in the U.S. However, many patients remain unaware of their rights to access their health information, let alone of their opportunities to use that information to improve the care they receive.
Recognizing this, the federal government recently has taken a number of steps to make patients more aware of their rights to access their health information and to enable them to engage more actively in their care.
HIPAA’s ‘Right to Access’ — a Foundation for Patient Engagement
The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives patients certain rights to review and obtain copies of their medical records.
Specifically, patients have the right to obtain copies of protected health information, or PHI, that is held by a “covered entity” — a health plan or a health care provider that is subject to the Privacy Rule. PHI is information that identifies (or could reasonably be believed to identify) the individual and relates to any of the following:
The individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health condition;
The provision of health care to the individual; or
The past, present or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual.
PHI includes demographic data such as name, address, birth date and Social Security number.
See on www.ihealthbeat.org