HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which was signed into law in August 1996. HIPAA was originally intended to support the portability of health insurance and to improve fraud and abuse protections, but provisions were added to improve administrative efficiency, reduce paperwork, and ensure confidentiality and privacy of electronic information. The purpose of HIPAA Privacy Rules are to prevent inappropriate use and disclosure of individual health information or protected health information (PHI). Individually identifiable health information is protected under HIPAA. The protected health information can be in electronic, paper or verbal form. HIPAA is important to each individual since it increases the patient’s control over his/her health information.
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