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Five Important Tips to Protect Your Personal Health Information

March 26, 2012

As the healthcare industry moves closer to electronic health information systems, concerns for privacy of health information continue to be an important issue. The increased availability of electronic health information carries significant benefits, but you need to maintain a healthy awareness of the risks and play an active role in monitoring your health information. The health information management professionals at Phoenix College provide five tips for protecting your personal health information:

  • Understand your information rights as a healthcare consumer. You have the right to view and receive copies of your medical information; request amendments or corrections of information you believe to be incorrect; know who has reviewed or received copies of your medical information; and the right to complain about medical privacy practices or breaches of privacy.
  • Read the Notice of Privacy Practices that your healthcare provider and health plan are required to provide to you at the time of service or upon request. Understand your rights, what types of information are maintained, and how each entity uses or handles it.
  • Be cautious Not all organizations or entities that collect and maintain your health information are covered by federal or state privacy laws.
  • Obtain and maintain copies of your medical records and information so you can use the information to monitor your care and spot any errors in the information.
  • Establish a personal health record (PHR) to monitor the accuracy of your health information. PHRs are an excellent way for you to play a leading role in your healthcare by tracking and monitoring your health status or that of family members in your care.

For more information on your health information rights and personal health records, visit www.myphr.org.

Health Information Privacy and Security Week is sponsored by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This year's theme is Keeping It Personal - Health Information You Can Trust. The week is designed to raise awareness among the public about the importance of personal health information privacy and security.

AHIMA is the premier association of HIM professionals. AHIMA's 50,000 members are dedicated to the effective management of personal health information needed to deliver quality healthcare to the public. Founded in 1928 to improve the quality of medical records, AHIMA is committed to advancing the HIM profession in an increasingly electronic and global environment through leadership in advocacy, education, certification, and lifelong learning. For information about the association, go to www.ahima.org.