If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably wondered about the privacy of your medical records. When I was in college and needed to get an MRI for back pain, my doctor told me that the results would be confidential. But then why did the technician need to tell me all about them? As it turns out, there are situations where your medical information may not be kept private from others. That’s why it’s important to understand what HIPAA is and how it works before handing over your records without understanding who will have access to them.
In almost all cases, your medical records are private.
In the United States, your medical records are protected by several different laws. This means that they are usually private and only made public with your written consent or court order.
However, in some cases, your doctor may be required to share this information with other people. These include:
- Your employer if they’re paying for part of your health insurance coverage (but only in certain circumstances)
- A police officer who has been involved in an investigation that involves you
HIPAA is the federal law that protects your privacy.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which was signed into law in 1996, is a federal law that protects your medical records from being accessed without permission. HIPAA is enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
Here are some other facts about HIPAA:
- You have the right to see your medical records at any time.
- You have the right to correct errors in those records.
- You do not need to pay a fee for copies of your health information unless you want them sent electronically or if they are mailed outside normal business hours or regular mail delivery routes require special handling services beyond simple postage costs.
Medical researchers may have access to your records.
Researchers do not have access to your records without your written consent, but they may need to review them for research purposes. Reviewing these records means reviewing the information in them and any notes made by doctors or other health care providers. Depending on the type of research study, researchers may be able to contact you directly if they discover information related to your private health history that they think might help their study.
You may need to give permission for your records to be shared with others.
You may need to give permission for your medical records to be shared with others. This can include:
- Insurance companies
- Employers, including universities and colleges that employ you
- Third parties who have a contractual relationship with your healthcare providers, such as another hospital or clinic. For example, if you are treated in one hospital but get some follow-up care at another location, both locations might share information about your care.
There are situations where medical records can be accessed by others.
There are situations where it is legal for others to access your medical records. These can include:
- A court order. If someone has been injured and is suing you or the company you work for, they may request your medical history as part of their case.
- Children under 18 years old who are patients of a hospital or clinic have their parents’ information shared with them automatically by law. This includes not only information about blood tests and X-rays, but also any mental health issues that might be discussed during treatment sessions with a child psychologist or psychiatrist.
The law generally says that your medical records are private.
If you have the misfortune of being hospitalized, you can rest assured that your medical records are protected. The law generally says that your medical records are private and confidential.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example:
- Medical researchers may have access to your records. This means they might be able to use them to study how diseases work or how medicines work within the human body. In these cases, they need to be able to get accurate information and make sure that no one has tampered with what’s going on with patients’ health; so if someone feels like they’re having side effects from medicine and wants his doctor/researcher pair up with another researcher who specializes in treating those kinds of problems (or something similar), then he’d need permission from both parties before doing so—the patient would need permission too! Do you see why we’ve been emphasizing “consent” all this time?
Your medical records are private and should be treated as such. But if you have a serious illness or disease, the law can allow others to have access to your records. For example, if you are applying for life insurance or disability benefits, your insurance company may need to see your medical records. There is also an exception when it comes to legal proceedings like lawsuits. In these cases, the court system has the right to review any relevant medical information which could affect its decision-making process