Cambridge, Mass—A primary aim of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), enacted by Congress in 1996, is to make health care more efficient through the use of standardized electronic transactions. This approach, adopted by virtually every major business other than health care, simplifies administrative and financial tasks, saving money and time.
But while the computerization of medical records may be a necessary step forward for health care, it needs to be done without compromising the privacy of patients. To this end, not only does HIPAA call for national standards and procedures for the electronic storage and transmission of health care information, but the law requires that regulations to ensure privacy and security of health information be instituted and followed.
Friedrich MJ. Health Care Practitioners and Organizations Prepare for Approaching HIPAA Deadlines. JAMA. 2001;286(13):1563-1565. doi:10.1001/jama.286.13.1563