Study Shows Most Online Pharmacies Lack HIPAA Privacy Notice


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC)1, along with readability expert Mark Hochhauser, Ph.D., is writing to call your attention to a recent survey of online pharmacies, and, in particular, the failure of most sites to post a HIPAA Privacy Notice.

In conducting this survey, Dr. Hochhauser visited 50 online pharmacy web sites. Of the 50, only 11 sites (22%) included a HIPAA Privacy Notice. The 11 sites that had a HIPAA privacy notice also posted a web site privacy policy.

Survey Finds Most Online Pharmacies Do Not Give HIPAA Privacy Notices


Readability consultant Mark Hochhauser, Ph.D., in cooperation with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, conducted a survey of 50 online pharmacy web sites from mid-April through July 9, 2004. Of the 50, a scant 11 sites (22%) included a HIPAA privacy notice as required by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the federal medical privacy rule.

Compliance vs. Communication: Readability of HIPAA Notices (Hochhauser)


In April 2003, patients in the US began receiving Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy notices from their doctors, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other "covered entities" that use their personal health information. As part of the HIPAA regulatory guidelines, privacy notices were to be written in "plain language." They are not.

Groups Oppose Data Mining of Health Information by Financial Institutions


Today, the Health Privacy Project (HPP), the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and 28 other groups, including the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, opposing any changes to the new medical privacy regulation that would give a green light to banks and other financial institutions to access sensitive, personal medical information. The organizations include health care advocacy, labor, consumer, disability rights, and health care provider groups.

Health Privacy: The Way We Live Now (Gellman)


A colleague called last week to discuss medical privacy. It was a personal matter. He recently had a medical procedure that he did not describe. He doesn't want me or anyone to know anything about his diagnosis or treatment. I didn't ask for details. For purpose of this article, I will identify my friend as Fred (not his real name).

Fred was contacted by a researcher who got his name from his physician. Fred was surprised at the call because he didn't give permission for his information to be disclosed to any researcher. It wasn't clear whether the researcher knew anything about Fred's condition. The study was designed to compare people who did and did not have the same condition so the physician may have only said that Fred qualified for the study. Fred couldn't ask more without disclosing the information that he was trying to keep secret.

PRC Comments on Proposed HHS - Medical Records Privacy Rule


Even though the proposed rule lays the foundation for the implementation of fair information principles, it takes several steps backward and gravely endangers patient privacy in a number of areas, explained below. Because of the significant shortcomings of the proposed rule, in addition to the relatively limited opportunity for individuals to have been apprised of and comment on the rule, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse recommends that the proposed rule be withdrawn and redrafted.

Ten Privacy Principals for Health Care


Health-related information that we share with doctors and others is among the most intimate and sensitive of all personal information. In addition to information about physical health, these records may include information about family relationships, sexual behavior, substance abuse, and private thoughts and feelings related to mental health.

Yet, as privacy advocate Evan Hendricks put it, video rental records in this country are afforded more privacy protection under law than are medical records.

How Medical Faxes Have Been Sent to My Home by Mistake


July 16, 2010

For the past 4 years I have been receiving faxes at my home that were most likely meant for a medical clinic since my number is 1 digit off from their phone fax number. I spoke with HIPAA [Office of Civil Rights, the complaint office for medical complaints under HIPAA] awhile ago, and they instructed me to just throw away any patient information in the trash and that I was not liable for that information in any way. Today I was sent another fax from a medical supply place and had to tell them to stop trying to send me a fax at 5:00 in the morning. Apparently, I was in their phone number data base and the information in the fax was set on auto redial. You can only imagine what a pain that is. If you take your phone off the hook the phone company has made it so it keeps buzzing to tell you to put your phone BACK on the hook.

Why Patients Won't Understand Their HIPAA Privacy Notices (Hochhauser)


I downloaded and analyzed six HIPAA privacy notice examples and 31 HIPAA privacy notices. Using several readability tools, I found that they were written at 2nd-4th year college reading levels -- instead of in plain language as required by federal HIPAA regulations

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