Research rules -- a weekly HIPAA message

picture disc.HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. You will be receiving weekly messages to help you understand the topic and how it impacts your job. Today's HIPAA message discusses rules for research.

Question 1: Can a physician or student review patient records for a research project?

Answer 1: Yes, if the physician or student has IRB approval and ethical access to the information via a treatment relationship. That means that records for patients seen in the physician or student's department could be reviewed, but not records for patients seen exclusively in clinics other than the home department.

Question 2: Can I use research informed consents that have not been modified for HIPAA for new research subjects?

Answer 2: No. All research informed consents used for subjects enrolled on or after April 14, 2003, must contain the HIPAA authorization statement in the Confidentiality section.

picture disc. If you're a manager, please ensure all of your employees are informed of the contents of these messages and how it applies to your work area. Some ways of sharing the information include discussions during staff meetings, printing and posting this message or asking your employees if they have any further questions.