HIPAA stands for: "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act." The acronym is often pronounced— in the healthcare world— as "hip-uh."
The "portability" part— You know how there was a law (an "act") that was passed that allows you to take your phone number wherever you go, whether you change providers from Verizon to Spring to— whatever? Yes, a law needed to be passed for you to be able to keep your cell phone number.
In the same way, a law needed to be passed for you to be able to bring your health data and your health insurance wherever you go: from job to job; from location to location; etc. That's the "portability" part of the act.
The "accountability" part of it involves protecting the information. You have to protect, but so do the medical professionals that work with the sensitive info, like doctors. We have to take precautions to make sure that your personal health data stays that way— personal; and never falls into the public domain.
The consequences of this is that we can't readily and freely talk about your very, very personal issues without first running through procedures that ensures that you are the right person to talk to about these sensitive things. Have any other questions about HIPAA? Send us a msg.