Patients, Providers & Specialists Access Improving Patient Care Through Secure Data Sharing Modern communications capabilities open up a world of possibilities for all types of medical practices to develop deeper connections with their patients and to manage health care remotely. The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives patients the right to obtain copies of their medical records, treatments and protected health information or PHI. These requirements go further if medical providers want to receive reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid -- patients must be able to access their records online, download copies and transmit the information to third-party providers. Most medical practices are finding it necessary to develop patient portals where patients and physicians can interact, share information and perform important functions such as practices billing patients and accepting payments online. HIPAA standards rule requires that these patient portals have strong security and privacy protections to prevent unauthorized access of these confidential PHI records. Electronic portals create even more complex regulatory, performance and legal challenges than the common HIPAA guidelines that apply to any covered entity that deals routinely with PHIs. Health care providers often struggle to meet Medicare's and Medicaid's "meaningful use" requirements where health providers can only be reimbursed if they engage their patients interactively and electronically while providing security and preventing unauthorized access. In cases where information is compromised, the breaches must be closed and patients must be informed about the breaches. Fulfilling these privacy, security and administrative responsibilities creates many development costs and challenges that include the fact that many patients haven't fully adopted accessing their records digitally. However, the drivers and benefits for HIPAA compliant patient portal development -- when compared with the alternative -- mandate that medical practices adopt this technology as quickly as practical.