Survey Shows HIPAA Security and Compliance Remains a Major Concern for Healthcare Organizations

efaxcorporate-logo-color54% of Organizations Cite HIPAA Security and Compliance Top Issue

New HIPAA security requirements adopted under the Omnibus Rule issued almost 6 months ago has kept both interest and concerns about meeting these requirements high. eFax corporation recently conducted a survey in an effort to determine the prevailing issues providers face in the secure transmission and exchange of protected health information (PHI).  We had a chance to ask eFax Corporate a few questions about the survey. Accompanying this Q&A is an infographic on the survey.

Last month eFax released the results of its inaugural Healthcare IT Pulse survey.  Can you tell us a little bit about the purpose of the survey and who participated? 

Healthcare is one of eFax Corporate’s largest vertical markets, and we’re continuing to see this sector grow as compliance and legislative issues are encouraging healthcare IT administrators to take a closer look at how they run their businesses. We wanted to identify some of the major concerns faced by this particular group of customers. We issued the survey to current eFax Corporate healthcare customers who come from a variety of backgrounds including, hospitals, insurers, physician/group practices and medical suppliers. Our Healthcare IT Pulse survey revealed top concerns related to transferring sensitive healthcare information, technology usage patterns, and top security and compliance issues. 

What are some of the key findings from the survey?

One of the key findings from the survey is that fax continues to be a favored approach for communication, as 61 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed cited fax as one of the top approaches to exchanging critical information with nonemployees, with 26 percent citing fax as the No. 1 approach to exchanging critical information. Meanwhile, digital file transfer was ranked No. 1 by only six percent of respondents, and email was cited by 12 percent of healthcare organizations as one of their two least used methods of communication for exchanging critical information with nonemployees.

Our findings also revealed that security remains a major concern for many healthcare organizations. In fact, 42 percent of respondents said online fax is the most effective technology solution for helping with HIPAA compliance security, and 37 percent see online fax as the most undervalued technology with respect to security and business needs. Furthermore, we also found that the No. 1 motivating factor for compliance was financial liability for violation of HIPAA and other legislation.

With increases in adoption of mhealth technologies, how would you assess the preparedness-level of hospitals and physicians in meeting data security challenges in mobile environments?

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry faced with security and privacy concerns, and you might expect some hesitation around mobile technologies. However, our survey revealed that 44 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed said mobile fax (the ability to fax from a smartphone or tablet) would be important or very important to their organization in 2014. Additionally, more than a quarter (27 percent) cited mobile solutions as their No. 1 technology priority for 2014.  

You cite the Affordable Care Act as bringing new document challenges to providers. Can you elaborate on this?

Changes brought on by legislation such as the Affordable Care Act, including the new healthcare exchanges, often means a sudden influx of added paperwork for healthcare organizations. We found that 54 percent of organizations surveyed cited HIPAA compliance as their top concern, even more important than document management, organization and record keeping. 

Finally, your last question in your survey asked respondents to list their number 1 technology priorities for 2014.  I noticed mobile apps, cloud-based solutions and EHRs were all pretty much neck and neck, with a slight edge to EHRs.  Seems like this is a reflection of basic system integration but does it also strike you that providers are taking an holistic approach to going digital?

Absolutely, we’re seeing the mobile workforce continue to grow in the healthcare sector and technological advances are adapting to regulations faster than ever. The healthcare industry continues placing its trust in hosted services and digital technologies because the companies behind these offerings closely follow changes made to healthcare legislation and HIPAA compliance matters, so their products and services will keep pace as these regulations continue to evolve.

Check out this eFax infographic on the survey and the survey itself.