The implementation of the Privacy Rule was an important step towards ensuring that patients are afforded the necessary privacy protections. The related access provisions of the law are a vital component in meeting the needs of patients and the demands of an effective health care system. However, while the Privacy Rule was groundbreaking, the impact of the law has, so far, fallen short of its potential. Patients who are unaware of rights afforded them under the law are not exercising those rights—to the detriment of the quality of their own care, as well as the quality of the health care system. As the development and implementation of a national health information infrastructure continues, including EMRs, it is critical that providers are aware of their responsibilities and that patients are both knowledgeable about their rights and committed to asserting them.
Written by Joyce Dubow, AARP Public Policy Institute
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Public Policy Institute, AARP, 601 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20049