SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Zakia Bouachraoui, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Blog Feed Post

HIPAA Challenges for 2018

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the department within the Department of Health and Human Services that is tasked with enforcing HIPAA and in meting out fines or citations for violations. Given the organization’s importance in adjudicating HIPAA fines, healthcare organizations are highly interested in knowing what changes the OCR might offer in their pursuits and definitions for 2018.

Given the impending budget cutbacks in Washington, the first question that needs to be asked is if the OCR’s ability to enforce HIPAA fines be diminished? What will be the OCR’s focus going forward? Will they look to further enforce the use of HIPAA secure messaging? How can organizations get ahead of the game and improve their adherence to legislation?

The goal of this blog is to look into these points and explain them.

Challenges for 2018

Recent information on HIPAA compliance has shown that many institutions are having troubles in “following the rules”.

In late 2017, OCR reported on the HIPAA compliant status of over 100 healthcare institutions. Institutions were given a rating from 1 to 5 for the completeness of their compliance efforts. A rating of 1 signified full compliance and 5 indicated that the covered entity had demonstrated limited to no attempts at compliance.

Courtesy of

Given these sorts of statistics, the stage is set for a clear set of challenges that the OCR will have to navigate in order to move the needle measurably forward.

While all of the items listed in the chart above should present concern to the risk conscious employees of healthcare, it seems most concerning that organizations have neither performed a security risk analysis nor established a program detailing how they will manage risk. Healthcare organizations should be more cognizant of HIPAA compliant pitfalls they should avoid.

Actions such as:

  • texting of patient information
  • loss or theft of devices such as smartphones
  • exchange of patient information

present some of the most significant challenges to maintenance of HIPAA compliance. Early reports indicate that the upcoming year will not show an abatement of these challenges. However, healthcare institutions should not let down their guard lest they are audited. Healthcare organizations should prepare themselves to report even the smallest of potential breaches in order to avoid being out later on.

Enforcement in 2018

Indications show that the OCR will receive less funding ($6.19 MM reduction) from the government in the upcoming year. In short, this means fewer employees at the helm and thus less enforcement. Some of the shortfall in federal funding will be backfilled by settlements via the OCR’s HIPAA enforcement activities.

Some of the work not addressed at a federal level might be taken up by state attorneys general that are focused on protecting the privacy concerns of local citizens. This is supported by the fact that the HITECH Act gave state attorneys general the authority to pursue financial penalties for HIPAA violations and assist OCR with the enforcement of HIPAA Rules.

However, decreased federal funding does not mean less active enforcement. Organizations still need to concern themselves with how to avoid a HIPAA fine. The OCR’s current head Roger Severino is in favor of pursuing legal action in order to further the organization’s agenda.

OCR envisions continuing to shift its work from “routine investigations” to “larger, more complex work that impacts a broader audience.” One should assume that with Severino at the head, the organization will be on the lookout for breaches and litigate them to the extent possible.

Safeguarding PHI on portable devices

Given the backdrop of pursuing more complex investigations, it is still not clear what will precipitate the HIPAA breach which draws out the OCR’s interest.  But by looking at the landscape it becomes clear that one of the main activities that will present a challenge to HIPAA compliance is safeguarding of PHI on portable devices. OCR’s 2017 HIPAA enforcement activities have shown that this was a key area of interest based on entities failing to comply with HIPAA rules in this area.


Going forward, it is unclear how the pursuit of HIPAA fines will play out although Severino does indicate an increase appetite for pursuing cases. Given the uncertainty surrounding how this will play out, healthcare organizations should do their best to audit their existing practices and train their employees to become more HIPAA compliant.



The post HIPAA Challenges for 2018 appeared first on OnPage.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By OnPage Blog

OnPage is a disruptive technology and application that leverages today's technology and smartphone capabilities for priority mobile messaging. With a top notch history of ensuring uninterrupted communication for businesses and critical response organizations, OnPage is once again poised to pioneer new mobile communications methodology for business and organizational use.

Latest Stories
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, has announced it will present five sessions at four upcoming industry conferences in June: BCS in London, DevOpsCon in Berlin, HPE Discover and Cloud Computing Expo 2019.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
Kubernetes as a Container Platform is becoming a de facto for every enterprise. In my interactions with enterprises adopting container platform, I come across common questions: - How does application security work on this platform? What all do I need to secure? - How do I implement security in pipelines? - What about vulnerabilities discovered at a later point in time? - What are newer technologies like Istio Service Mesh bring to table?In this session, I will be addressing these commonly asked ...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.