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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is a regulation whose primary purpose is the protection of the privacy health information along with the legitimate use and disclosure of such information for various social groups. HIPAA requires that any form of research that involves Protected Health Information employ physical, administrative and technical safeguards to guard confidentiality.  An entity under cover is the organization that has to meet the terms of HIPAA (Ness, 2007).                                                                                             

Quantitative Problem Statement         

This information serves to demonstrate problems associated with the implementation of the HIPAA Laws that are observed from various levels within health care. The impacts can be felt at many levels from the patient to the doctor.  According to Kovach (2005), the increased cost burden is a continous burden to the doctor wishing to remain within the HIPAA compliance.

To remain HIPAA compliant there are various requrements; ededicated staff to remain educated on various cahnges and overseeing the employees training process at all levels within the medical office. This includes the education for the patient, the administration staff, medical staff and any other person that might see the information included in a patient’s health record. The cost’s become a burden over time in an already financial strapped health care system.

Quantitative Purpose Statement

The purpose of this study is to analyze the costs associated with the implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as it applies to health care from a physician offices perspective.  The focus of the impacts will focus on the overall patient care and education costs that have increased dating back to the April 2003 implementation date (Harman, 2005).  The additional costs come with additional training in education for the patients, office administration staff, and the physicians. The physician is also responsible to make sure all parties that information is shared with are compliant with the regulations. The information that will be used to support the costs put back on the patient in whom this study will demonstrate how to improve and streamline the process to reduce costs impact. An analysis will be performed to determine the costs associated with HIPAA and then to determine the effects brought by HIPAA regulations to the physicians overhead costs. The study will constitute the collection of primary data to create a sampling of physician’s offices costs before and after the implementation of this act. The study would also determine the total of all the costs associated with the compliance of HIPAA for the average physician offices in New York State.

Quantitative Research Questions and Hypothesis

Hypothesis:  Overhead costs of physicians have increased because of the implementatiom of the HIPPA regulations and the training of employees for HIPPA compliance.

Quantitative Questions:

How does the office update and educate employees and patients so as to remain in compliance with HIPAA laws?

Does the impact of the training and education require additional time and staff to          complete?

The approach that will be used to analyze the level of compliance within the physicians’ offices in respect to following the HIPAA regulations and the level of association in determining how effective these education impacts are to the patient.

Null Hypothesis:

The education and training costs are a function of the on-the-job training and therefore don’t add up to offivce costs.

Alternate Hypothesis- Directional:

There is no change in the physician’s overhead costs for employee and patient education.

Qualitative Problem Statement 

One most recent national study points out how patients and health care staff do not fully grasp the true implications of such privacy regulations and might go over the minimum necessary requirements (Ramanow, 2010).

The approach used will be to analyze the level of compliance within the physicians’ offices in respect to the HIPAA regulations and their level of association in determining how these education impacts are passed on to the patient.

Qualitative purpose statement

A collective research process is carried out. This research takes into account various facts and surveys obtained by interviewing method of collecting information of the current education of patients and staff. The study uses a data sample of patients of ages 18-65 from various health care physicians in the stae of New York.

The nature of the research will be conducted with use of a multiple case design for both primary and secondary data. This will comprise of primary data collected by pre-established questionnaires designed for both the staff of the health care organizations as well as the patients identified in the data sampling. Interview questions will be used for analyzing the level of comfort in which HIPAA regulations are practiced, from one physician office to another, based on the education Other possible research information could include focus groups, observations and projective methods to determine how each different office educates patients of their rights according to the regulations related to HIPAA.

The results of the study will be to identify where the customer and patients have the least amount of education and determine a standard set of education methods to support increasing effective education.  The results will be reviewed to improve patient understanding and education process as it is today. 

Qualitative Research Questions

What information are the patients missing or not understanding during the education process?

What information is taken away by the patients and staff from the education and training process?

What standards are employed in coming up with patients and staff training materials?

How readable are HIPAA Privacy Notices to tha patients?

Are the notices hard to understand?

What rights do patients have in cases where they dont understand their rights? 

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