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HITECH Ratchets Up HIPAA Accountability

Modern Medicine, January 2010

3 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2012  

John I. Winn

Shenandoah University

Kevin H. Govern

Ave Maria School of Law; California University of Pennsylvania; John Jay College

Date Written: January 11, 2010


In the current risk climate, the loss of confidential patient data to unauthorized third parties presents a daunting challenge for healthcare professionals. In this context, the introduction of large networks of computerized health information has caused the number of individuals with access to patient medical records to expand exponentially.

Physicians make widespread use of laptops, home-computer links, smart phones, smart cards, USB flash drives and PDAs. E-prescribing systems link physicians and others directly to pharmacies. A contemporary physician's Blackberry typically contains far more patient information than the locked filing cabinets of previous years. Unfortunately, all of this healthcare data — ranging from medical diagnosis and treatment codes, to names, addresses, birthdates, social security numbers, bank and credit card accounts — has enormous value to identity thieves who exploit open networks and Wi-Fi systems.

Within the context of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 all "covered entities" that collect private health information must comply with specific administrative, technical and physical security standards and procedures for "electronic protected health information."

Keywords: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, HIPAA, Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, HITECH, medical administration, confidential data, healthcare, identity theft, cyber risk, data compromise

JEL Classification: I10, I11, I12, I18, I19, K10, K20, K42, M12, M14

Suggested Citation

Winn, John I. and Govern, Kevin H., HITECH Ratchets Up HIPAA Accountability (January 11, 2010). Modern Medicine, January 2010 . Available at SSRN:

John I. Winn

Shenandoah University ( email )

United States

Kevin H. Govern (Contact Author)

Ave Maria School of Law ( email )

1025 Commons Circle
Naples, FL 34119
United States
(239) 687-5390 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://

California University of Pennsylvania ( email )

250 University Avenue
California, PA 15062
United States
(845) 234-8532 (Phone)


John Jay College ( email )

524 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019
United States
(845) 234-8532 (Phone)


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