Your medical records, how safe are they?

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We are conditioned to answer, not ask questions when we enter a medical facility.

But now that your medical information is moving from paper to the internet there are systems in place that may help protect you.

Your most personal medical information is shared when you enter a doctors office, hospital or clinic. You should receive a HIPPAA brovchure informing you of your rights and privacy, before you even fill out your paper work.

Jean Opsut, Vice President over quality risk and case management of Doctors Hospital of Sarasota says this is the next step. "When they're sitting in front of a registrar, they're answering questions, and the registrar puts it directly into the computers." She explained just who can see your information. "Once a patients admitted, all the caregivers involved in their care would have access to that information as well."

Safe guards to protect your privacy include multilevel pass words, which change periodically. Even hospital employees are also under scrutiny.

"One of the thing we do is regularly audit whose accessing what, so if we see a caregiver who maybe accessing a patient that was not on their floor, we would flag that in and do an investigation." Said CFO, Chuck Schwanre.

Privacy protection for those admitted with mental illness is a priority and a confidentiality notice pops up before a nurse or a physician accesses their record, as a reminder that you should only be looking at this if you have a need to know.

Opsut said billing is no including your diagnosis information. "As part of HIPPAA privacy protections there are codes that are used today and they're very limited with what information besides date of service and what service you've received will be on the bill."

You may also want to check that the facility you give your information to requires background checks.

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