In the news, on this blog, and in other places, you’ll see different terms (and their acronyms) used when describing various types of patient medical records. MedeFile, for instance, is a PHR or Personal Health Record. I thought it useful to explain the different record types and how they differ. This should help you understand how different types of medical records are used, which should help you not only better understand the types of records out there, but how they might come into play when you’re talking to your health care provider.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services fined Cignet Health for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The fine was $4.3 million. HHS found that Cignet had violated the privacy rights of consumers by refusing to give access to health and medical records in 2008-2009. The penalty for that ($1.3 million) goes to each of those involved, equating to about $31,000 each. The rest of the fine (about $3 million) goes to the HHS and its Office of Civil Rights for violations pertaining to Cignet’s non-cooperation with requests from that office.
A lot of political and editorial commentary has been made about this fine and Cignet’s violation over the past few days since the news was announced. What hasn’t been mentioned is the simple solution to this problem that would have made the violation itself almost impossible.