Privacy, HIPAA and Meaningful Use FAQs

In consideration of the new federal Meaningful Use guidelines enacted into law under the American Recovery and Re-investment (ARRA) Hi-Tech Act; as a patient at Utah Digestive Health Institute you will be asked to indicate your race, primary language and smoking habits.
These federal guidelines define Meaningful Use as a requirement for health care providers. Physicians are required to gather primary information and review treatment provided to patients in order to deliver the highest quality care possible.

What Is Meaningful Use?

Meaningful Use is a national initiative (federal rules and regulations) that defines how physicians use electronic health records (EHRs) in meaningful ways that benefit patients.

How will it benefit me (patient)?

  • Permit electronic access to your information
  • Provide patient-specific education resources
  • Reminders for preventive and follow-up care
  • Protects you from dangerous drug interactions by maintaining active medication lists
  • Improved coordination and communication between healthcare providers

What will I need to do?

There are new requirements for asking about race, religion, language and smoking habits during patient registration. These questions are being asked because of new federal guidelines.

What is the Government going to do with my information?

The government believes that meaningful use provides improved healthcare. They plan to track and trend the data collected to provide better healthcare. At this time Utah Digestive Health Institute is only required to provide statistical data (i.e. a collection of blood pressure data, height, weight, etc.) and not individual private records.

What is the difference between race and ethnicity?

Race describes biological descent. Ethnicity describes cultural heritage. Ethnicity is learned, race is inherited.

Why are your questions different from the ones my referring physician asked?

Each physician practice has the option to choose from a menu of questions within the federal guidelines that need to be recorded during patient care.

Do I have to participate?

No, at this time many of the questions include “choose not to specify” as an option.

How do you ensure my information is kept private?

As always, whether electronic or not, privacy, security, safety and quality are very important and any questions can be directed to our HIPAA Security & Privacy Officer at 801.475.5400

How do I get my patient information?

Contact our Medical Records Department at 801.475.5400 to assist in making any changes or requesting records.

What can I do if my patient information is wrong?

Two options first, enroll in our patient portal to view and/or print, make edits and access your medical information from a computer with access to the internet.  Our office will have to initiate your patient portal enrollment.  Once enrolled you can view and update information at your convenience.  Second, contact our office at 801.475.5400 to assist in making any changes.

Patient privacy and security

At Utah Digestive Health Institute, privacy is still a vital part of each patient’s electronic health records and patient health information continues to be protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Patients maintain the right to request a copy of their health records. However, with EHRs there is an audit trail of who has viewed them, making security and enforcement even tighter than having a paper record.
The government is continuing to develop rules about the privacy and security of personal health information and Utah Digestive Health Institute will continue to follow federal guidelines to make health care more meaningful for our patients’ care.