The Big Picture: Let’s face it: HIPAA is inevitable

December 1, 1999

The Big Picture: Let’s face it: HIPAA is inevitableBy Kathy Kincade, EditorI have this bad habit. When it comes to certain tasks, such as paying bills or cleaning the bathroom or taking my (almost daily) walk/run, I can find numerous ways

The Big Picture:
Let’s face it: HIPAA is inevitable

By Kathy Kincade, Editor

I have this bad habit. When it comes to certain tasks, such as paying bills or cleaning the bathroom or taking my (almost daily) walk/run, I can find numerous ways to delay the inevitable. I consider this masterful multitasking; others call it procrastination.

It is one thing to do this in your personal life, quite another to let it creep into your work. Like many jobs, publishing is built on deadlines. Making them is paramount; missing them can be costly.

The problem is, there always seems to be so much time—until, of course, the deadline is tomorrow. Then you scratch your head and wonder where the days went.

When it comes to the new HIPAA regulations, timing is everything. Although most of the proposed rules will be finalized by the first of the year, the deadline for complying with them is still at least two years away. For many vendors, this puts HIPAA on the back burner for the time being.

But product cycles can be long, and what is on the drawing board today is likely to become reality about the time HIPAA finally takes effect. Delaying the inevitable will only make things harder—and more expensive—in the long run. If you are not doing so already, take a serious look at your products’ data security and transaction options. Consider the standards you already comply with, and others on which you need to get up to speed. Talk to your customers’ data-security specialists, not just the radiology managers or CIOs.

Trust me—come 2002, you’ll be glad you did.