To satisfy the new Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements, providers must furnish patients with electronic copies of their health information upon request. Providers should ensure that their systems are able to timely meet these requests and to satisfy the requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The Meaningful Use Stage 2 standard requires that more than 50 percent of patients who request electronic copies of their health information must be provided that information within three business days.
When providing electronic copies of health information, providers should keep in mind that electronic data may be furnished in any format. For example, information could be provided via a patient portal, CD, USB drive, or the like. Providers should update their HIPAA compliance plans to include provisions relating to electronic media accordingly. As under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, providers may only charge a reasonable, cost-based fee for a copy of the information. It is important to remember that providers may withhold certain types of information from a patient’s electronic copies of health information. Since the types of health information that can be withheld from patients or third parties is subject to a higher confidentiality standard, providers also need to review their HIPAA compliance plans to ensure that appropriate protocols for electronic disclosure are in place.
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