HIPAA authorization is the permission given by a patient to have his or her medical records released to a certain party for a predetermined amount of time. While HIPAA typically requires healthcare providers and medical billers to keep such information private, HIPAA also adds a provision for patients to willfully provide access to otherwise confidential information.
HIPAA authorization does have its limitations. In order for a patient to authorize the sharing of health-related data in a HIPAA compliant manner, the healthcare provider is required to have the patient sign a HIPAA release form. This document details the specifics of how information will be released and used. If the patient agrees to the description outlined in the release form, HIPAA authorization can occur once a signature is added.
Until the patient signs a HIPAA authorization form, any health-related data cannot be shared with a third party. It is the responsibility of the patient to have such a document crafted and signed if they would like for a third party to have access to their information.