Nobody Cares About HIPAA

Compliance is seen mainly as a costly inconvenience in many organizations.



Health Data Security: Tips And Tools
Health Data Security: Tips And Tools
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Sometimes clarity comes out of the blue, including clarity about compliance issues. Recently I was meeting with a friend and business associate, Ben Drake. His company works with networking and data protection technology for a number of businesses.

I mentioned how some organizations with obvious Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance issues seem uninterested in putting forth the effort to resolve them. Some won't even acknowledge they have issues. Ben shrugs and matter-of-factly says, "Nobody cares about HIPAA."

That took a minute to soak in, but I got his point. Knowing Ben, I knew his comment was not literal, it was for effect. But generally speaking, he has a strong point. In the greater scheme of many businesses, HIPAA (and other regulations) are commonly seen by management and staff as annoyances and as another meaningless expense.

Some organizations make only token efforts toward compliance, and those efforts are typically the least that can be done for the least cost. There is often an incomplete, one-time effort to "get compliant," but after that, nothing much more.

In Ericka Chickowski's recent article, "Healthcare Security Pros Need To Speak The Language Of Finance," Rick Kam pointed out healthcare security issues, "basically put the CFO and the CEO to sleep because they're talking compliance, talking costs, and talking about things that are not that interesting to these executives."

While there are exceptions, I think Ken's observation is THE reality for many organizations, even if no one will openly admit it. A common course of action by this type of leadership is usually one of three approaches: postpone, ignore, or delegate.

Postponement is easy to emotionally justify. "I'm very busy. I need to wait until I have time to really understand everything and not make a bad decision." The problem here is that security dangers don't care if you wait or not, they will continue to put the organization's information and reputation at risk.

Read the rest of this article on Dark Reading.

IT professionals can make tremendous progress on security initiatives using the HIPAA Security Rule for leverage. In our Security Via HIPAA Compliance report, we'll explain how. (Free registration required.)

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