Health Information Management

HIPAA Q&A: You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers!

HIM-HIPAA Insider, October 13, 2014

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Submit your HIPAA questions to Editor Jaclyn Fitzgerald at and we will work with our experts to provide you with the information you need.

Q: The hospital where I work is implementing its patient portal. The providers are debating what information can be released through the portal. We are trying to follow release of information rules that are similar to those of paper records. Can organizations provide HIV test results through a patient portal? We provide this information on paper now, but I am unsure of whether it can be transmitted electronically.
A: HIPAA does not prohibit making any part of a patient's designated record set available to the patient through the patient portal. The key is to ensure the portal is secure. You will also need to inform patients that by registering for the portal, they accept the risk if they share their login credentials with friends and family. Organizations also need a sound security program to back up portal security.
Editor’s note: Chris Apgar, CISSP, president of Apgar & Associates, LLC, in Portland, Oregon, answered this question for HCPro’s Briefings on HIPAA newsletter.

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