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Reframing the Influence of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act on ResearchHealth Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Carol Bova, PhD; Deborah Drexler, JD; Susan Sullivan-Bolyai, DNSc
Author and Funding Information

From the Graduate School of Nursing (Drs Bova and Sullivan-Bolyai), and the Center for Health Care Financing (Ms Drexler), University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.

Correspondence to: Carol Bova, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Graduate School of Nursing, 55 Lake Ave N, Worcester, MA 01655; e-mail: carol.bova@umassmed.edu


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(3):782-786. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2182
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The purpose of this article is to review the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Privacy Rule, the Security Rule, and common issues encountered by researchers related to these federal privacy and security requirements. This article discusses the misconceptions that researchers may hold about HIPAA, including the process for reviewing protected health information when preparing to conduct a study, potential constraint on participant recruitment, and application of HIPAA to a researcher’s clinical population. We also present ways to reframe the negative connotations associated with this regulation and provide tips for researchers about how to work with HIPAA when planning and conducting a study and reporting on study findings. Finally, we suggest that the principles of HIPAA be considered when conducting studies in international settings.


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