One major hospital regulation involves patient privacy and is enforced by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. Other common hospital regulations include those regarding the prevention of accidental harm, responding to patient safety events and the hospital's responsibility to inform patients about their own medical care, states The Joint Commission.
HIPAA is a federal law that provides security of protected health information in electronic, written or oral form, notes the Office of Health and Human Services. It provides restrictions and rules on who can receive and look through a patient's medical information as part of the Privacy Rule. HIPAA also has a security rule, which requires that health information in electronic form have the proper security in place. Information that is considered protected includes medical records, conversations about a patient's health, billing records and health insurance records. Most hospitals are required to follow HIPAA, as of 2015.
Hospitals also have several regulations to help improve patient safety. The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 allows staff members at hospitals to confidentially report adverse events in patient care. Hospitals use this information to identify any patterns in safety issues and work to reduce risks. Other common hospital regulations include rules about medication use, infection control, fire safety, security and staff competence, notes The Joint Commission.