For the past several years, particularly since compliance with the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) went into effect on April 14, 2003, health care professionals have become especially concerned with the privacy laws and their effect on the provision of health care. Causing further concern is how this rule complements or contradicts the rule for the Protection of Human Subjects, otherwise known as the Common Rule, when research is conducted with human subjects. This author chose this article, Research Privacy Under HIPAA and the Common Rule, to critique because of an interest in future research with human subjects.
Historical BackgroundFor almost twenty-five years, privacy issues when conducting research with human subjects were regulated primarily by the federal regulation for Protection of Human Subjects, or the Common Rule (Rothstein, 2005). However, on April 14, 2003, compliance with the Privacy Rule of HIPAA went into effect (Rothstein).
Since that date, the privacy involved in human research has been regulated by both of these acts (Rothstein).
The main purpose of the HIPAA was to ensure that when employees left a job they would not lose their health insurance coverage (Rothstein, 2005). However, during the legislative process, the Administrative Simplification title of the act was passed; this part of the act requires the nation to be more efficient in processing health claims through electronic transactions (Rothstein). Foreseeing that individuals would be concerned about the ability to share their health information instantly nationwide, this title also attempted to guard the health information privacy in these electronic transmissions (Rothstein). Rothstein noted that, as a result of this concern, HIPAA specified that Congress would write additional legislation within two years to address the privacy issues; however, failing to do so would relegate the task to the Department of Health...