With huge new revisions to federal privacy and security regulations set to take full effect Sept. 23, the American Medical Association has published a new toolkit to help physician practices understand and comply with the new rules.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule this past January, revising and extending the necessary safeguards for protected health information established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
The new rule expands the individual rights of patients – including tightening requirements on physicians when patient information is breached. As such, physician practices could face more legal scrutiny and higher fines.
"Understanding the implications of the modified privacy rule can be daunting for busy physician practices," said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, in a press statement. "The AMA stands ready with expert resources and effective tips that will help physicians meet the new requirements for protecting highly sensitive patient information as more data becomes digitalized."
The AMA’s new toolkit provides guidance to help physicians review and update their existing HIPAA policies and procedures with an easy to understand breakdown of the revised rule, including encryption safeguards for electronic patient information, officials say.
Physicians will need revised privacy notices to share with patients, as well as new agreements with business associates that handle patient data; the toolkit offers updated templates of the documents that physicians can use to conform with changes to the privacy rule.
The HIPAA toolkit and templates are available free to all physicians on the AMA website.
[See also: New HIPAA rule seen as tougher]