What is a HIPAA Waiver?

What is a HIPAA Waiver of Authorization?

A HIPAA Waiver is a legal document that permits an individual’s health information to be used or disclosed to a third party. The HIPAA waiver is part of a series of patient-privacy measures set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996.

Why is it important? Simple, because without the HIPAA Waiver your doctor may not share information about your medical condition with any third party, regardless of their relationship to you. In the event of an accident or illness, your medical information cannot be shared with your loved ones, effectively keeping them in the dark.

In Recent years, ‘HIPAA Waiver of Authorization’
Healthcare privacy has gotten increased attention as more and more of our medical information is digitized. And as we all know, digitized information is very easy to share. In the 21st Century, it is much easier for doctors to transmit patient health information via the Internet than it was when records had to be mailed or faxed. The HIPAA Waiver of Authorization authorizes a patients doctor to provide information on a patient’s health to third parties, such as researchers, attorneys, other doctors or family members.

What Information is Covered By A HIPAA Waiver?

Patient information covered under HIPAA, called protected health information (PHI), is information that can be linked to a specific individual and is held by a covered entity, such as a health insurer, health care provider or health care clearinghouse.

In order for a HIPAA waiver to be approved for research purposes, three criteria for the use of private health information must be met: the health information to be disclosed must present a minimal risk to the privacy of the disclosing party; the researchers must ensure that research activities could not be undertaken without the information; and the research could not be practicably conducted without the waiver.

Should a family member attempt to bypass HIPAA rules through the use of an attorney, usually in the event of a medical emergency, the patient must have already outlined in his/her power of attorney for health care that he/she expressly waives the protection offered by HIPAA and allows the specifically designated “personal representative” to know his/her otherwise private health information.