With deadlines for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) approaching in October, many consultants who count healthcare organizations among their clients are likely to see their business increase in the coming months. HIPAA requires that healthcare organizations that transfer patient information electronically adopt a raft of federal requirements that outline formats, privacy, and the patients’ ability to access their own records.

During the past few months, we’ve featured several discussions and articles that explored HIPAA’s effect on consulting. Several members asked us if there were any tools that could assess their clients’ readiness for HIPAA.

We found one in an Excel spreadsheet that asks clients a few dozen questions on how they’ve worked to address HIPAA requirements. The questions include inquiries on:

  • Overall HIPAA preparation and analysis.
  • Standardization of code sets.
  • Claims transactions.
  • Information security and privacy.

Each question is assigned a value, and every No answer counts toward the total risk. For example, if your client answers No in response to the question “Do you have a dedicated HIPAA project manager?,” your client is given eight points.

You can use the spreadsheet to pinpoint areas where your client might need more help, such as information security and privacy. The spreadsheet comes from TechRepublic member Rick Mata, a medical doctor and an IT consultant with Healthcare Software Solutions. The company produces a HIPAA-related project management tool, an auditing tool, and software designed to work with a healthcare organization’s legacy computers. Download this spreadsheet to see if your clients are doing all they can to comply with HIPAA’s requirements.

What difficulties are healthcare organizations facing?

What’s the most difficult aspect of HIPAA for your healthcare clients? Are EDI implementations proving to be the greatest challenge? Share your advice with us and other members by sending us an e-mail.