Later this year the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will begin auditing health providers to ensure they are in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Despite both HIPAA and the HiTECH Act, healthcare data breaches have been popping up regularly in the news.  A recent study found that over 70% of hospitals had patient data breaches last year.

These numbers have generated concern over Healthcare’s adoption of security procedures and the overall effectiveness of HIPAA.  Although HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to encrypt all electronic protected health information (EPHI) they have been slow to implement the security needed to meet the HIPAA guidelines.  The audits appear to be an attempt to address these concerns and motivate healthcare providers to step up their security measures to protect patient data.

Providers failing to comply with these HIPAA audits face potential fines and negative publicity.

For more information on HIPAA, checkout these resources:

- An Introductory Resource Guide to Implementing the HIPAA  Security Rule (PDF)

- HIPAA Survival Guide

Written by Kanguru — October 31, 2012

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