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Understanding the Individual Right of Access

The HIPAA Individual Right of Access provides patients and caregivers the legal, enforceable right to see and receive copies of the information in their medical and other health records maintained by their health care providers and health plans. In 2009, this right was extended to include electronic access.

However, implementing HIPAA in an increasingly digital ecosystem is challenging. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) publishes and continually updates guidance to help patients and providers understand their rights and responsibilities.

Health care providers and staff are crucial partners in empowering consumers to get the most out of their health data. To help you understand how you can share information with patients and families, we have broken down the OCR Guidance into bite-size interactive pieces. We preserved the exact language of the guidance, kept relevant topics connected and linked to the guidance or relevant regulations whenever applicable.

And the best part? We’ve created short quizzes for each section to help you test your knowledge along the way! We think you will find our format navigable and digestible, and most importantly, hope you will understand and retain the information you need.

Getting to a patient-centered health care system

“With the increasing use of and continued advances in health information technology, individuals have ever expanding and innovative opportunities to access their health information electronically, more quickly and easily, in real time and on demand. Putting individuals “in the driver’s seat” with respect to their health also is a key component of health reform and the movement to a more patient-centered health care system.”

– Introduction, Individuals’ Right under HIPAA to Access their Health Information 45 CFR § 164.524

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