The Department of Justice recently charged a physician for violating HIPAA Rules, after he permitted a sales representative from a major pharmaceuticals company to access the confidential health information of his patients – without their consent.
The motive, as usual, was greed. If particular patients could be targeted for the new drug, the pharmaceutical company as well as the doctor stood to gain.
The result? The pharmaceuticals company pleaded guilty, and was fined $35 million; the doctor also pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 6 months probation with a fine.
Now, whether the physician should have actually lost his license or been given jail time is debatable. At the very least, the case does provide an opportunity for all who handle personal, medical data to ask ourselves:
Why do we adhere to HIPAA?
Because it’s the law? Yes. Because we may get fined if we neglect it? Clearly. Because we’ll lose our reputation as a trusted protector of sensitive health data? Of course.
But shouldn’t we want more?
There’s no question, health care providers and hosting companies should desire to maintain trust with their customers/patients so they can continue to operate and be successful. Allowing patient trust to be breached by granting others access to their personal lives is simply unacceptable – for all of the above reasons, and more.
Ultimately, we adhere to HIPAA not just for fear of fines or business failure, but more positively, out of concern for the welfare of patients. We seek to prevent breaches and attacks and preserve data for their good, for their ultimate well-being. We do it because we would want the same done to us.
In this spirit, we can see HIPAA as a logical corollary of the Hippocratic Oath that all physicians take when pledging to treat the sick. “Do no harm or injustice to them” – as the first priority.
VM Racks takes this call seriously. Our mission as a proven HIPAA hosting company is to provide uncompromising data security, combined with world-class customer-service – including 24/7/365 technical support – and to do this at an affordable price. All because serving other people must be prioritas.