Is HIPAA causing an obstacle to flow of medical information in sports?

In spite of the fact that Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patients’ health information, there has been little reflection on the fact that it has deterred the situation in sports medicine because it has unintentionally created an obstacle to the free exchange of health records of every athlete to coaches, athletic trainers and team physicians who need to have complete medical information on every athlete.

For example, in boxing, a fighter must allow free access to medical data before being allowed to compete in any jurisdiction. Also young athletes in high school need to supply complete medical information regarding medical conditions, allergies and prescribed drugs to their coaches.

Often, athletic trainers are employed by entities contracted to provide services to a school. Parents can protect their children by making sure they directly provide the athletic trainer or youth coach with accurate, complete medical information.

“HIPAA was never intended to compromise the communication among care givers,” said Glenn Stadnick, Corporate Compliance and Privacy Officer at Backus Hospital.