HIPAA Burden and Cost of Compliance – How to Reduce it

Ryan Stephens
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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), is a United States law developed to help the healthcare industry by providing data security and privacy to safeguard medical information. However, unlike the simple definition, the application and maintenance of HIPAA compliance can be very arduous, and the burden and cost of non-compliance can be even greater.

According to the HHS (Table 1), the estimated cost of compliance per organization is:

  • Notice of Privacy Practices updates: $80
  • Breach Notification Requirement updates: $763
  • Business Associate Agreement updates: $84
  • Security Rule compliance: $113

This estimation was revealed shortly after the HIPAA Final Rule was released in 2013. The total sum is up to $1,040 per organization. 

Factors that can affect the cost of compliance

The cost of HIPAA compliance can vary depending on your organization. A few of the variables that can affect your overall cost are:

The type of organization: The amount of protected health information (PHI) and risk levels can vary depending on the type of organization. Different kinds of organizations needing to comply with HIPAA include business associates, hospitals, medical centers, healthcare clearinghouses, health information exchange companies and other types of healthcare providers. 

The size of your organization: The HIPAA burden and cost of compliance is directly proportional to the size of an organization. The larger the organization, means more employees, more PHI and PHI containing devices, more activities, more programs and departments that can add to your cost of compliance.

The culture of your organization: the culture of any organization can greatly influence the HIPAA burden and cost of compliance. For example, if one of the top priorities of higher management is data security, then the organization has likely already invested in a cybersecurity program. If the management feels reluctant or fails to dedicate a budget to data security, then the cost of HIPAA compliance can increase as there will be more areas to catch up on.

The environment of your organization: The brand of computers, types of medical devices, model of backend servers, firewall measures, etc. can all add to the HIPAA burden and cost of compliance. For example, if the hospital prioritized minimizing patient mismatch, then the hospital has probably already implemented a biometric patient identification platform. The cost of implementation and maintenance of this platform for compliance with HIPAA will significantly be lower. If minimizing patient mismatch was not considered, then the cost to get in line with HIPAA regulations will be higher. Patient mismatches and misidentification can cause the accidental filing of medical records, which in turn, can lead to consequences as dire as any other violation.

The internal dedicated HIPAA team within your organization: An internal HIPAA dedicated team can help you assess how far your organization is from closing the HIPAA gap. The team will be responsible for ongoing training sessions, making sure everyone is adhering to the policy, and overseeing the safeguarding measures for the protection of PHI and other electronic devices. If your staff members and employees are lacking basic knowledge regarding HIPAA, then the chances of carrying out a non-compliant action also increase. Making up for non-compliance and getting in line with HIPAA, later on, can significantly increase the burden and cost of compliance. 

Simplify your HIPAA burden and cost of compliance

Even with internal teams in place, organizations usually require outside assistance for getting in line with HIPAA’s rules and regulations. Such assistance can be provided by HIPAA Ready.

HIPAA Ready is a robust HIPAA compliance software that can help you streamline your activities and HIPAA compliance management processes while significantly reducing the burden and cost of compliance. The application includes a digital checklist of tasks, a center for policies, plan of actions, and effective training management information. With this application, you can customize your workflow while remaining HIPAA compliant.

The cost of non-compliance can include loss of reputation, government penalties, court representation costs and other costs. Invest in HIPAA Ready to ensure your organization is HIPAA compliant.

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