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What does HIPAA stand for?

HIPAA: What does it stand for?

HIPAA, formally known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act, was signed into legislation back in the 90's. These regulations were enacted as a multi-tiered approach that set out to improve the health insurance system. HIPAA is a dry subject. Here are some fun facts that relate to the HIPAA acronym to help you remember.

  • H is for Health. Did you know that banging your head against a wall actually will burn 150 calories an hour? Even if you don’t believe us, take our word for it.

  • I is for Insurance. Insurance is not a foreign concept to most people but what about a policy that protects you from alien abduction or even immaculate conception? Never fear because your coverage is available!

  • P is for Portability. We live in a necessarily portable world. Not a fun enough fact? Well, there were over 5,000 portable restrooms at Obama's inauguration — hopefully the smell wasn't included.

  • A is for Accountability. Accountability is actually a completely philosophical concept and the opposite of accountability is compulsion; in layman's terms, it's all arbitrary.

  • A is for Act. Instead of referencing the enthralling legalities we all love, I would like to credit Angelina Jolie for being a great actress. Did you know that her wedding ring was designed by her husband, Brad Pitt?

More seriously, why does HIPAA matter? Well, all healthcare entities and organizations that use, store, maintain or transmit patient health information are expected to be in complete compliance with the regulations of the HIPAA law. When completely adhered to, HIPAA regulations not only ensure privacy, reduce fraudulent activity and improve data systems but are estimated to save providers billions of dollars annually. By knowing of and preventing security risks that could result in major compliance costs, organizations are able to focus on growing their profits instead of fearing these potential audit fines.

HIPAA legislation is ever-evolving and although it may seem complicated and tedious, it is imperative that everyone is in compliance. HIPAA has many parts to it, including many rules like the HIPAA Privacy Rule and HIPAA Security Rule. Just as one must be aware of every minute part of these HIPAA directives, one must be prepared for change. With Healthcare Reform and other disruptive movements, the industry is in need of flexibility. Keep an open mind when tackling healthcare because nothing is set in stone, nor will it ever be.

Despite the complexity of our healthcare system, everyone can make an impact. By being an educated healthcare consumer, the industry is one step closer to moving from a volume-based care model to one that is purely value-based. It is time to understand healthcare, analyze behaviors and determine solutions. Why now? Because there's no better time than now.

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