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Whether you work in the medical industry, have some sort of professional relationship to it, or are simply an individual who receives medical care, it's important to understand the basics of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
As a provider, adhering to the rules of HIPAA means avoiding penalties that can be incurred by not properly following the requirements around patients' medical information and data. The penalties for failing to comply with HIPAA can be devastating to a medical practice. As a consumer, HIPAA is in place to protect you and your information, allow you greater access to this information, and make sure you have continued insurance coverage between jobs.
HIPAA creates a national standardized process for healthcare, which is more safe and efficient. No matter who you are, you should have at least a basic understanding of HIPAA, for your own protection, and for that of others.