Health Records and Privacy

Health Records and Privacy


Welcome to LawShelf’s video-course on health records and privacy. A doctor’s visit can be a stressful experience not only because it involves health issues, but also because it generates records that patients usually want to keep confidential.  


To help assuage patients’ concerns, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, regulates disclosure of private patient information. Many Americans have heard of the Act, but this course focuses on its nuances and how it operates. This is an introductory-level course on principles of healthcare privacy and it requires no previous knowledge of healthcare or law.


In our first module, we will provide an overview of HIPAA. We’ll discuss HIPAA’s twin “pillars,” the Privacy Rule and the Security Rule, which both address standards for the protection of health information. We’ll also look at how the Department of Health and Human Services enforces HIPAA’s provisions.


In Module Two, we’ll learn about the situations when a hospital or healthcare provider can disclose protected health information without violating HIPAA. We’ll discuss consent and authorization and explore the numerous exceptions to HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, such as those required by law, judicial and law enforcement exceptions, and the health, safety and research exceptions.


We’ll devote the third module to HIPAA enforcement and the penalties for unauthorized disclosures of patient health information. We’ll examine how the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights investigates HIPAA violations and prosecutes and penalizes violators.


In the fourth module, we’ll consider the intersection of HIPAA and state law. We’ll discuss what federal law permits states to do and what it preempts. We’ll also discuss examples of state law approaches to disclosures and explore when and how a state can be stricter in its approach to protecting a patient’s health information.


Finally, we will spend the last module laying out what an effective medical records retention policy entails. We’ll look at requirements on healthcare providers with regards to records content and length of time of records must be retained. We will also cover the consequences of improper medical record destruction.


Best of luck and we welcome your feedback. 

What is a video-course?

A LawShelf video-course is an in-depth series of presentations on a discreet legal topic. LawShelf video-courses focus on practical legal information and applications and are each designed to familiarize the viewer with a legal topic quickly and efficiently.

Who should take a video-course?

Our video courses are designed for professionals such as attorneys, paralegals, corporate officers and financial professionals, as well as laypeople looking to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of law. The courses allow you to acquire the specific knowledge and skills that you need without the expense and time commitment of going “back to school” for a degree. 

How do I learn?

Video courses are divided into 5 or 6 modules.  Each module contains a video lesson (usually about 15 minutes long) and a series of self-test questions that you can use to practice and make sure that you understand the material.

How do I complete a video-course?

To complete a video-course, you must pass a 10-question multiple-choice examination by scoring 70% or higher.  The questions on the exam are randomly selected from the self-test question sets for the various modules. You can retake an exam as many times as you need to, though you will not get the same questions each time since the questions are drawn from an exam bank.

How long will it take me to complete a video-course?

Between watching the modules, doing the self-test practice questions, reviewing the material and taking the final exam, we estimate that completing a video-course requires a time investment of 4-5 hours.  The courses are designed to get straight to the point. We’re cognizant that your time is valuable, and we condense the information you need to know to comprehensively cover a subject into as little time as practical.

Is there limit to how many video-courses I can take or complete?

No. A LawShelf subscription enables you to access any and all LawShelf content, including all video-courses. You can take courses as quickly or slowly as your time allows.

Do I receive any recognition for completing a video-course?

Once you complete the course by passing the final exam, you will be awarded a digital badge to display as evidence of your training and accomplishment.

How will a digital badge help me? 

Modern educational trends are moving away from traditional classroom-based course completion models and towards skills-based education. Employers today care more about skills than ever before. LawShelf digital badges conform to the Open Badge standard and are verifiable records of your skills that can easily be shared online.

How long do I retain access to the course materials?

You retain access the modules and take the final exam as long as you are a subscriber to LawShelf.

Overview of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 - Module 1 of 5

Authorized Disclosures and Privacy Rule Expectations - Module 2 of 5

Enforcement Actions for Unauthorized Disclosures - Module 3 of 5

HIPAA and the Preemption of State Law - Module 4 of 5

Records Retention and Destruction Policies - Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.