Monday, February 27, 2012

HIPAA and Patient Privacy Rights: 5 Things You Should Know

Private medical information of a patient is now being handled in a totally different way owing to the HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act) privacy rules. These HIPAA privacy rules are stringent principles that are to be followed by all healthcare organizations. If they are not followed it may result in severe penalties including fines and even imprisonment.
The HIPAA makes sure that the patients have ultimate authority over their own medical data. It is their right to access their records at any time and hospitals cannot deny them this right. In case a patient feels that any information included in his medical records is incorrect or missing, he can request a change or alteration.
The patient privacy rules as laid down by HIPAA are very important. Five important things you should know are explained below.
• If there is a need to use a patient's medical data for reasons other than his treatment, he has the sole right to decide who can or cannot have access to his medical records. If the patient's confidential information is used without prior permission it is a breach of the federal act.
• If the patient's private medical records are revealed to any person or entity it is counted as a violation to the civil and criminal law. There will definitely be penalties for such an act which may vary as per the violation.
• The HIPAA privacy rules along with protecting patient information also provide certain rights to the covered entities. The employees of the covered entity can choose to reveal the patient's medical records to insurance companies, government agencies and for public importance without prior permission from the patient.
• Not all employees are given access to the patient records. The healthcare organization has to identify what employees need complete access to the medical records, like doctors, and what employees need restricted access. Therefore, the specific function of the employee should determine if he has access to confidential patient information or not.
• To protect unnecessary employees accessing patient files, safeguards need to be put in place. The HIPAA privacy rules should be made compulsory and only authorized persons should be allowed to access sensitive patient information.
A log is to be maintained recording the names of employees who access the medical data and their reason for doing so. If it is noted that a patient's information has been accesses numerous times for unknown reasons, a thorough check should be done as this is a violation of the HIPAA rules.
Special training must be given to all the employees of healthcare organizations about strictly following the HIPAA privacy guidelines. They should be taught the importance of these guidelines. This will prevent unnecessary penalties and improper access of medical data. In case of any breach a specific time period is provided to the healthcare organization to correct it. If the organization requires some more time to correct the breach they can make a request and an extension may be given to them. If the covered organizations report numerous violations and failure to correct them they may even lose their license.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Importance of First Aid Courses: 4 Points to Consider

Accidents are regrettable events that occur when you are unprepared. Accidents can take place anywhere and at any time. They come without any prior notice. It is absolutely necessary that you brace yourself at all times and be ready just in case an accident occurs. The best way is to be prepared is if you know first aid, and the only way you can know first aid is to do a first aid course. First aid courses are very important and highly recommended.
Here are 4 reasons why first aid courses are important.
• Workplace Accidents: There can never be a "safe place" whether you are indoors or outdoors. Minor accidents like cuts, bruises, falls and the like occur every day. Workplaces are usually said to be accident prone. People spend most of their day at their workplaces and so it is highly possible that they meet with an accident there. The nature of your job may determine the type of accident you may encounter. If you work in a loading warehouse, there is chance of you being injured if a heavy load falls on you. If you work in a hospital, you may be injured if you don't handle needles and sharp objects in a safe manner. There may be even more life-threatening accidents that may occur at your workplace. It would be definitely good to know first aid if you or your colleagues are ever involved in such accidents.
• Why first aid courses are beneficial:
- People who have undertaken first aid courses can be a huge help in case another employee injures himself. Basic measures like cleaning and bandaging a wound may solve the issue.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is one of the main techniques taught in first aid courses. If you know CPR you can administer it and save a life.
- Sprains and fractures may occur anywhere as a result of a trip or a fall. If you are trained in first aid you can tend to these problems before professional medical help arrives.
- Some factories and industries are located in the interiors where there may not be a hospital for miles together. If you know first aid, basic treatment can be provided before the victim is transferred to a hospital.
• How to obtain first aid training
Once you decide you want to be trained you need to look at the different first aid courses offered in your locality. Make sure the course you choose is certified and provides you with a certification on completion. These days, offices and employers are providing first aid training to their employees. If this is not the case at your work place you can always find first aid courses in the schools and hospitals in your area. There are reputed first aid courses available online too.
• Your value as an employee: A first aid certified employee is a huge asset to his company. Once you complete your course, this plus point can be added to your resume to give it extra credit.
There are countless reasons why you should enroll yourself in a first aid course. Some of those have been listed above. Keeping all those reasons aside, always remember that your knowing first aid can make the difference between life and death for someone else. The reason why first aid courses are so important is because they help you save lives.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Top 3 Objectives of First Aid

Everybody needs to know the basics of first aid. It comes handy at some or the other point in life. Not everybody holds a first aid certificate though; some people perform first aid, even without a certificate in hand. For instance, when a child gets hurt, the mother cleans up the wound, applies bandage etc, for which she might not have a first aid certificate. But these are basic first aid technique which almost everyone knows.
Some people take keen interest in providing first aid as a help to general public. They usually take up first aid courses and obtain a certificate. There are various means to obtain a first aid certificate. You can either contact your nearest health center or your social center; enroll into a crash course or a full course.
But before deciding whether you want a certificate or just want general information on it, you need to realize the importance of first aid. Why do you need first aid?
Well, there are 3 very important reasons for proving first aid:
• To save somebody's life
• To avoid more injury
• To support healing.
Like any other medical aid, the basic or elementary goal of providing first aid is to save life. You cannot always depend on a doctor to be present to save somebody's life. It is not possible for doctors to be around wherever anyone gets injured or in case of accidents. Therefore, someone who knows first aid can save your life.
The basic requirement to stay alive is to breathe free. When somebody falls unconscious, or gets choked, it gets difficult for them to breathe free. In case of choking, the first aider will use techniques that include putting pressure on the abdomen or slapping the back to remove the cause of choking and clearing the passage for the air to move in and out freely. If the victim is unable to breathe even after the air passage has been cleared, the first aider might perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. In this the first aider gives mouth-to-mouth breathing to the victim and massages his or her chest simultaneously in order to aid normal flow of blood throughout the body.
Secondly, first aid aims to avoid more injury and to stop a wound from getting worse. When you perform first aid on somebody, you are helping him out of some danger. It might be as simple as moving the victim away from where he or she got hurt. For instance, by covering a burning victim with a blanket in case of fire, it is providing first aid to the victim. Similarly, covering a wound with a cloth to control bleeding is also another form of first aid.
Last but not least is to provide help in healing. In some cases, first aid might be the treatment to an injury like putting a bandage to a small scratch, whereas, in some cases, it could be the fist step to healing. People trained in first aid know how to manage any kind of situation from a small cut to a fracture, till the arrival of the medical team.