As funding for medical research in the United States increases to record levels, and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) becomes a greater priority for health care organizations, the question must be asked: How does HIPAA impact the medical research process? Although it can be hoped that the increase in medical research spending will accelerate the process of discovering new life-saving treatments for disease and chronic illness, HIPAA compliance presents researchers with extra hoops to jump through in the research process. Physicians must abide by HIPAA regulations to protect themselves from potential lawsuits triggered by violations of a patient’s privacy. As billions of dollars are being poured into medical research every year, the obstacles that HIPAA presents to medical researchers—and the possible solutions to these obstacles—must be examined in greater detail.
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