Your Personal Health Record - The Truth Behind Those Privacy Rumors

Alex Bettencourt - June 11, 2010

If you’re a little reluctant about starting a Personal Health Record, don’t let these rumors fool you. A personal health record could save your life, so it’s important to do your research before you change your mind about not creating one.

Let’s examine some of these rumors more thoroughly:

1. “Your doctor is not allowed to share your health care information with family members.”

This is false and your physician actually is allowed to share relevant health information with your family members. Under The HIPPA Privacy Rule your health care provider is permitted to to share information directly pertinent to the involvement of a spouse, family member, or another contact you have identified with approval (usually this is another caregiver or someone else helping pay for your healthcare).

2. “Your name and location are open to the public when you are in the hospital.”

This one is true folks. Unless you make a specific request to remove your name on the hospital’s directory list, anyone can confirm you are a hospital patient if they ask.

3. “Anyone can fax and email your health information.”

This is incorrect. Only your healthcare providers are allowed to send and receive your health information, and they are only permitted to so under strict security policies.  Email encryption and decryption is also protected to block others from accessing and adjusting your data.

4. “Private messages about your health can be left on your answering machine or with anyone in your home.”

This is also false. Your health care information is always protected unless you give your provider consent to leave messages on your answering machine or with someone in your home. You can also request how much information is left too, although most providers are generally discreet anyway.

5. “Your healthcare provider can share your personal health information to another healthcare provider without your permission.”

This one is also true. If you health care provider has reason to believe you will be receiving care somewhere else, they can disclose your health information without your approval.

We know how important your personal health record is to you, so we suggest bookmarking this blog. You never know when you need a refresher on your personal health information rights. Also, if you are interested in starting a personal health record with us we promise to always keep all of your information, private, safe, and secure.

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