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HIPAA compliance crucial as regulations change

May 06, 2013
Compliance By LW Consulting Inc.

It is exceedingly important for healthcare organizations to have strong security policies, ensuring that they keep patient data protected and avoid HIPAA violations. While it is necessary to implement new technologies, it is also crucial to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

While electronic health records and other online systems have allowed for patients to have a more hands-on approach to their own healthcare, some experts believe that new HIPAA regulations could cause problems for medical facilities.

According to John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the issue is three-fold. It's a technology, workflow and policy problem, he told The Wall Street Journal. For example, it could be difficult to keep a payer from seeing their information due to quality review and oversight processes.

"The industry is just starting to get its head around this rule," Angela Dinh Rose, a director of practice excellence at the American Health Information Management Association, told the Journal. She added that many of these issues probably won't be solved by the deadline.

New federal rules, which were first implemented in March but facilities have until September 23 to comply, give patients more control over their own data. However, some believe that the changes will bring technical and administrative issues to healthcare organizations.

Regardless of what new system a hospital or care provider is working to implement, partnering with a healthcare consultant who specializes in healthcare IT consulting can ensure that a facility remains compliant in all federal regulations. While patients might want more control of their personal records, it is important for organizations to safely give them access without breaking any privacy laws.