United States legislation (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. The primary goal of the law is to make it easier for people to keep health insurance, protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs.
HIPAA was enacted as a broad Congressional attempt at healthcare reform - it was initially introduced in Congress as the Kennedy-Kassebaum Bill. The landmark Act was passed in 1996 with two objectives.
- One was to ensure that individuals would be able to maintain their health insurance between jobs, that is, “take their insurance with them”. This is the Health Insurance Portability part of the Act. It is relatively straightforward, and has been successfully implemented.
- The second part of the Act is the "Accountability" portion. This section is designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of patient information/data. In addition, it mandates uniform standards for electronic data transmission of administrative and financial data relating to patient health information.