I was recently interviewed in the Journal of AHIMA on how the C-suite is waking up to the new realities of privacy and data security risks. Before the HITECH Act in 2009, HIPAA enforcement was based on a cooperative model where HHS was not punitive in its approach. Now, big fines are being issued. There is auditing. The climate has changed.
Privacy and security risks are quite costly. This is true not just under HIPAA, but also as a general matter. At many organizations, the C-Suite doesn’t fully appreciate the magnitude of the risk. Back about 10 years ago, for many organizations, privacy and security risks were barely on the radar. Now they are recognized for many organizations, but the significance of the risk is often not fully understood or appreciated.
The first piece provides an overview of HIPAA and its evolution. The second involves an analysis of HIPAA’s strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I find HIPAA to be one of the most effective privacy regulatory regimes. HIPAA is very effective in large part because it requires privacy and security officials who have responsibility over these issues. These officials develop policies and procedures, perform assessments, and provide HIPAA training to employees, among other things. Privacy laws are not self-executing, and enforcement agencies have limited enforcement resources. The effectiveness of the law depends upon each organization taking compliance seriously, and this starts with a governance structure, awareness training, and things that create a culture of compliance. Many other privacy laws don’t realize this, and fail to include the robust governance components of HIPAA.
The entire issue is here. Copyright belongs to Journal of AHIMA.
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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of training on privacy and security topics.