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Real-Life Privacy Violations

Real-Life Privacy Violations - Departments & Programs, UW Hospital and Clinics, Compliance, Privacy, HIPAA

Focus

HIPAA's privacy rules were created in response to real-world privacy violations. Here are some examples (taken from HIPAA's preamble and from other sources).

These are just a few examples of patient privacy concerns. The privacy rules intend to help us make these situations better for the patient, or prevent the situations from happening altogether. 

The privacy rules also intend to prevent privacy violations that may occur in the future - especially privacy violations involving genetic information. Genetic research is providing more and more valuable ways to diagnose and treat patients. However, genetic information about patients will also become more and more valuable to parties who may use the information contrary to patients' interests. In drafting HIPAA, the government had future concerns like this in mind. 

As you can see, there are many different kinds of privacy concerns. Also, privacy issues differ from organization to organization, and from state to state. Some states' privacy laws are more lenient than others, so patients have been getting less protection in some areas than others. The government created federal privacy rules, in part, so that all states, and all health care workers in the U.S., are following the same minimum-level privacy practices.