MRO’s Rita Bowen, MA, RHIA, CHPS, CHPC, SSGB, Vice President of Privacy, Compliance and HIM Policy, discusses how the updated HIPAA Breach Reporting Tool helps ensure privacy and security.

The Office for Civil Rights in the HHS launched a revised web tool July 26 to focus on recent breaches of
health information.

The HIPAA Breach Reporting Tool, created in 2009 by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, publicly reports when entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are involved in breaches of unsecured protected health information of 500 or more people. The OCR enforces HIPAA privacy and security
rules.

This recent update added features to the tool to highlight breaches currently under investigation and reported within the last 24 months, provide a new archive that includes all older breaches and information about how breaches were resolved, and improve navigation of the tool, according to a release from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Health-care industry leaders and federal lawmakers have voiced concerns about the negative impact of a public data breach portal, and experts said this update offers a compromise by focusing the website on cases under investigation and moving older breaches into an archive.