Survey: Providers' preparedness stagnates at low level for next HIPAA deadline

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Fewer than 1 in 5 healthcare providers are prepared for the next round of medical records rules set to go in to effect, according to a new survey. Further, fewer than 1 in 3 payers said they are prepared for the April 20 implementation date.

Clouding the outlook even more are the downgrades in providers' and payers' confidence they will be ready to meet requirements in time. Just 74% of providers (down from 87% in June 2004) and 80% of payers (down from 91%) said they thought they would meet the information-security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conducted the survey of 400 providers and payers in January in conjunction with information systems consultant Phoenix Health Systems of Montgomery Village, MD. A survey official called the results "surprising and worrisome."

The percentage of providers (18%) saying they were in compliance stayed the same from June to January, while the payer amount more than doubled (to 30% from 13%) over the same time period.