HIPAA awareness & compliance in 2014 vs. 2016: 6 key survey findings

HHS' Office for Civil Rights is expected to ramp up its HIPAA audits and enforcement actions this year. NueMD released its 2016 HIPAA Survey Update to better understand where the healthcare industry stands with knowledge of HIPAA requirements and compliance with those requirements.

NueMD gathered 927 responses from medical practices and billing companies and compared findings to its 2014 HIPAA report. Here are six findings from the survey.

1. In NueMD's 2014 HIPAA survey, 32 percent of respondents reported awareness of the OCR's planned HIPAA audits. In the 2016 survey update, 40 percent of respondents reported being aware of the audits.

2. In 2014, 64 percent of respondents were aware of the omnibus updates. That number rose to 69 percent in 2016.

3. The number of respondents that said they provided annual staff training for HIPAA compliance dipped slightly from 62 percent in 2014 to 58 percent in 2016.

4. Similarly, the number of respondents reporting having formal HIPAA officers in place dropped from 2014 to 2016. In 2014, 56 percent of respondents said they appointed a security officer, while 53 percent said the same in 2016. In 2014, 56 percent of respondents also reported appointing a privacy officer. That number dropped to 54 percent in 2016.

5. Digital methods of communication had an overall increase from 2014 to 2016.

Mobile
•    2014: 42 percent
•    2016: 45 percent

Email
•    2014: 57 percent
•    2016: 58 percent

Text
•    2014: 29 percent
•    2016: 35 percent

Social Media
•    2014: 13 percent
•    2016: 15 percent

6. Overall confidence in HIPAA compliance stayed relatively stable from 2014 to 2016. Two years ago, 38 percent of respondents said they were confident their organization was ensuring HIPAA compliance. That number rose to 40 percent in 2016. In 2014, 19 percent of respondents were not at all confident in their organization's ability to be HIPAA compliant, but that number dropped to 17 percent in 2016.

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