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Although healthcare providers have a long tradition of respect for individual privacy, consumers want assurances that their personal health information remains accessible only to those with a legitimate need to see it. In response to these concerns, and to facilitate more widespread use of Internet technologies in all aspects of healthcare, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law in 1996. As its name suggests, the bill guarantees health insurance portability when workers switch jobs. It also includes sweeping provisions to ensure the security and privacy of patient health information. Since its enactment, government bodies have been busy putting together a series of regulations for organizations that use or have access to patient health information.
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