The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, turns 25 this year. Signed into law by President Clinton on August 21, 1996, it was heralded as the United States’ first, and sorely needed, major national health privacy statute. It came into existence at a time when federal statutes regulated access to federal government files, telephone records, school transcripts, and even video-rental histories, but the healthcare industry lacked uniform federal privacy and security standards for protecting individual health information.
Since its inception, HIPAA has been modified a number of times to keep pace with technology. For instance, in 1996, electronic medical records (EMR) were in existence but were rarely