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Study Shows Most Healthcare Companies Are Not Ready for New Privacy and Security Compliance Regulations
Date:11/11/2009

OAK BROOK, Ill., Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent survey of healthcare organizations found that 94 percent believe they are not ready to comply with the privacy and security provision of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The new provisions take effect in February. The survey of 77 U.S. healthcare organizations was conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Crowe Horwath LLP, one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the U.S.

The HITECH Act extends the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act's (HIPAA) rules for security and privacy safeguards, including increased enforcement, penalties and audits. According to the survey, many current HIPAA compliance programs have deficiencies in the areas of privacy and security, including inadequate program testing and failure to update the programs. Yet only 47 percent of the respondents feel they have the necessary funding and resources to fully comply with the new regulations.

"We believe that most organizations are not ready for HITECH as a result of compliance issues within their existing HIPAA programs," said Raj Chaudhary, a principal in Crowe Horwath's risk consulting group. "Even though most organizations acknowledge that their HIPAA compliance programs are deficient, our survey found that implementing necessary controls or securing third-party assistance to help ensure compliance may be limited due to budgetary restraints."

The study also found that 79 percent of organizations do not regularly have the required independent assessment or audit of their program to determine adequacy. Fifty-seven percent say they have known deficiencies concerning privacy or security, or both. Only 29 percent of respondents report no deficiencies.

Other survey findings include:

  • Most organizations experienced one or more data breach incidents involving the loss or theft of pro
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SOURCE Crowe Horwath LLP
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