A patient’s rights under HIPAA include the right to restrict the use and disclosure of medical records. While it may have been easier to manage restrictions in a paper record world, the advent of EHRs sometimes make it more difficult for restrictions to be executed.  To address these restrictions, the medical record often becomes part of a sub-group where access to the chart is limited.

Why would records be restricted?

Medical records could be restricted for a variety of reasons.  More often than not, a patient would like to keep their medical information private from others.  The range of patients who may want restricted records could include practice employees who have a chart in their own place of employment, to a patient who does not want their insurance payer to know of a specific diagnosis or procedure, all the way to the less common celebrity patient. Newsworthy cases, including the unfortunate episodes of violence, may also create the need for restricted records to shield the records from inquisitive eyes.

Ultimately, access to these records is typically only granted to a group of specific personnel to protect the privacy of those records and prevent an unauthorized disclosure.  EHRs often incorporate the ability to have restricted records, which can be accessed through different workflows and access permissions.

What are additional considerations with restricted records?

Ultimately if a patient requests a restriction, the Covered Entity will want to document that restriction in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  Furthermore, there will need to be additional scrutiny and auditing of the records prior to their release to prevent an unauthorized disclosure of protected health information (PHI).  Ultimately, a very skilled and trusted employee or group of employees will want to carry out this process.

Release the Records Requests

If restricted access creates a ruckus in your workflow, ScanSTAT is here to help.  We’re happy to handle both the routine requests, and the more complicated, allowing you to focus on taking care of your patients instead of paperwork.  If you’d like to learn more about how we can alleviate these requests from your daily workload, reach out to us to schedule a demo today.

This FAQ is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Seek your own legal counsel to ensure compliance with federal and state law.