Remembering the '90s
Remember the 90’s? Yes, I am talking about the decade of grunge music, flannel shirts and the coming out of the Internet (World Wide Web). It was in that decade when HTML and Java were created; the digital answering machine, DVD and Web TV were invented; and the dot com boom took the world by storm. It was also the era when the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. So if you were working in healthcare (and specifically Healthcare IT) at that time, do you recall the conflict between doing your HIPAA assessments and your Y2K assessments? Did it not seem like IT was leading every project that had the acronym HIPAA in it, even though the team spanned the entire healthcare organization?
I’m not that old (ha! right), for having worked during the dot com era. I started my IT career at the tail end of the dot com boom and joined healthcare IT, right when Title II of HIPAA (known as the Administrative Simplification or AS provisions) was addressing deadlines for HIPAA privacy, transactions and code sets and then security. Those were some busy and fun times. So why am I reminiscing? Well, the release of the HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule late January brought it all back. Not that the pace in healthcare IT has slowed at all in the last decade or so. HITECH sealed the deal that HIPAA had started for security and privacy requirements. The transaction and code set implementations and requirements are still rolling, with a lot more yet to come, including the ICD-10 (with a Oct 2014 deadline) and claim attachments requirements.
Having a thorough understanding of HITECH/HIPAA Privacy and Security regulations and Breach Notifications requirements as they apply to Business Associates and Covered Entities is important in healthcare IT today as organizations strive to meet compliance goals.
Ashini Surati is the Security and Compliance Manager at Park Place International. She has been working in the healthcare security and compliance realm for the past decade. Her passion is to ensure customers understand and comply with regulations and maintain a secure, compliant environment.