HIPAA Research Proposal
Running Head: Research Proposal
HIPAA Research Proposal
Subject Code and Name
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a regulation act that was enacted by the federal government to protect its customers/ clients/ patient clients. The legislation act was formed in order to ensure health care abuse and fraud was reduced, to guarantee integrity and confidentiality of medical information to their patients and also to improve the services offered by the health care systems (Lee, 2002).
This research studies on analyzing the effectiveness of education training processes on patients. It will be conducted on a range of patients ages 18-65 for from different health care physicians in the state of New York who will fill up questionnaires followed by conduct on focus groups. The research will take a qualitative method of study in that it will take into account different surveys and facts obtained from using interviews in order to capture the current education process and how much the patients understand it. Hagan et al (2002) multi-case design method will also be used to describe the different views of patients concerning the education trainings they are taken through by different physician’s office. Finally the research will focus on finding the impacts of implementing HIPAA laws on increasing the education cost of the patients. It will also determine the average cost on association with HIPAA regulations by the physician’s offices.
The HIPAA law was enacted to improve the services offered by the health care systems by improving the effectiveness of the systems that were in use. The need to protect the medical record information of patients saw the creation of a standardized means of storing medical records. The physicians office struggled to come up with plans that will ensure the administration, physical and patient rights were protected and safeguarded. They decided to take the initiative to educate the patients about their rights and what they are expected to know concerning their medical information (Lee, 2002).
The HIPAA law required the physicians to put into focus use of methods that will protect the electronic transfer of medical records to the patients. The implementation of HIPAA laws ensured that all health care consumers were protected (over the privacy of their medical records) regardless to whether they were insured, uninsured or covered under Medicare programs. The law applied to all health care providers, clearing houses that transferred medical information, physicians and medical planners. The objectives of the HIPAA law majored on giving the patients or consumers greater access into their medical records, watched on the accountability of systems used to store medical records, protecting the rights of patients against misuse or careless disclosure of their medical records and finally providing parameters to be used by medical cares and physicians concerning means of protecting patients medical records (Calloway and Venagas, 2002).
The cost of implementing standards was significant and was focused on larger health care segments such as hospitals and laboratories. The new enacted HIPAA laws had outstanding effects on the overhead costs of the physicians’ office and the managed care plans. The implementation presented a great practical, financial and technical challenge to the physician’s office (Calloway and Venagas, 2002). According to Lee (2002), the HIPAA new expected them to provide training services to all its staff members regardless to whether they were permanently employed in the organization or doing a voluntary work, on privacy of patients medical reports policies and procedures, expected to appoint an officer who will overlook the enforcement of policies and procedures for the physicians office and lastly formulate policies that will guide individuals in the medical sector on how use, access and disclose medical records and data.
According to researches conducted by Calloway and Venagas (2002), on HIPAA compliance, it was observed that more then 70% of hospitals budgeted, for beds only if they had less than 400 beds, less than $90 000 yearly for HIPAA compliance. Friedman (2001) stated that the increase in number of beds in the hospitals increased the expenses in the hospital as well. Other costs that rose as a result of enactment of HIPAA laws included appointing a privacy officer who was to be paid on a salary range of $70 000 to $130 000 and a security officer who was to be paid on a scale of $25 000 to $250 000. Such was seen to be an extensively significant expense in the physician’s office because it increased his overhead costs. Another cost included the training cost which was estimated to be around $17 on every employee.
This research will focus on determining the take of patients on training and education programs introduced to them and which aimed to educate them on their rights concerning the privacy of their medical records. It will determine if the training programs are needed by the patients and the effect it has on the expenses incurred by the physician’s office. It will also determine the averages costs compliance for the physician’s office in the New York and its impact on the patients who undertake training education programs.
This research was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the patient education and the implications of applying the HIPAA regulation privacy act on medical records. Recent national studies indicated that the patients and health staff had little knowledge concerning the privacy acts in that they were not in a position to understand the true implications of implementing the privacy regulations instead they only considered the minimum necessary requirement which was based on the sound current practice that protected health information should not be used or disclosed when it is not necessary (Clark, 2000). In determining how effective these education impacts are to the patients, the research will approach the subject by analyzing the level of compliance within the physician’s office in respect to following the HIPAA regulations and level of association. Data will be collected from range of patients aged 18-65 years old from different health care physicians in the state of New York.
Purpose Statement of the Study
The research will take a qualitative method of study in that it will take into account different surveys and facts obtained from using interviews in order to capture the current education process and how much the patients understand it.
The research will be conducted by use of a multiple case design for both primary and secondary data. The primary data will be collected by pre-established questionnaires designed for the patients and the health care staff. Interview questions will also be formulated requesting information on how HIPAA regulations are practiced in each physician’s office based on the education they receive. Apart from this, focus groups, observation and projective methods will also be used to determine how the office educates the patients on their rights and the efficiency of the training programs.
The study will focus on both dependent and independent variables. The dependent variables includes if the patients understand they are in a position to understand what they are taught and if the training is effective while the independent factors includes the trainings attended by the patients, the impacts on the patients and average costs on association with HIPAA regulations.
Significance of the Study
The study seeks to find if the patients understand the HIPAA regulations and their rights to medical information records. The research will enable the medical care managers to be in a position to evaluate the efficiency of training education received by the patients. They will also be in a position to determine the implications of HIPAA regulations on the average costs incurred by the physician’s offices. The study will also determine the additional costs on education provided to the patients and this will enable the patients to be in a position to know if the training are helping them or not.
Nature of Study
In order to address both variables in the study, the research will focus on primary and secondary types of resources. Secondary data bases on past research about the implications of HIPAA regulations on the patients and the medical care plans. This is done with the aim of collecting more information about the subject and gathering evidence behind concepts that will be revealed after the research. Other sources of secondary data are business and financial journals, Internet search, books, and many sources. Additionally, primary data will be collected from the questionnaires and interviews. A self-administered questionnaire will be used as an instrument of data collection for this study. Hagan et al (2002) defines a questionnaire as a research instrument that gathers data over a large sample. The advantage of using questionnaires is that it upholds confidentiality, saves time involved ingathering information and finally there is no biasness in answering the questions as it is written down on paper.
Kothari (2008) defines a research design as the arrangement of conditions for analysis and collection of data in a way that aims to bring relevance to a research purpose with economy considered in procedure. A qualitative approach enables the researchers understand the situations better by developing an authentic insight about the problem. Hagan et al (2002) multi-case design method will used to describe the different views of patients concerning the education trainings they are taken through by different physicians office. The study will then conduct a research on range of patients ages 18-65 for from different health care physicians in the state of New York who will fill up questionnaires followed by conduct on focus groups.
Hypothesis of study
The research will be conducted on patients to determine the effectiveness of the application of HIPAA regulations. The questionnaires given to the patients will be formulated based on determining if the patients understood about their rights concerning their medical records information and what they thought about the training they were being taken through considering the average costs to be incurred. The major focus will be about the additional cost to physicians concerning to training matters
The study will seek to evaluate if there was any information the patients were missing or not understanding during the education process, if the patients considered the education process time consuming and confusing, what information was taken away from the education and training process and to determine what reading level was being employed in writing the materials. In addition to above, the research will seek to find how readable the HIPAA privacy notices were, if the notices were hard and difficult to understand and lastly to investigate the rights the patients had if they did not understand their rights.
According to Cahill (2001), the regulations under the HIPAA affect all the physicians and the medical health workers as well as the patients in which the law tries to protect. He stated that the regulations required the patients to submit a written consent before any claim is made or any medical information disclosed. The regulation gave the patients the right to have a control to access and make any necessary corrections on their medical information that befits their satisfaction. The physician was only allowed to deny an individual the right to make amendment in his/her medical records if the information recorded was written by the patient himself/herself and without the help of the physician or if the written record was indeed a true fact.
Clark (2000) noted that the final regulation required the physician to be in a position to ensure that his business partners were in compliance with the HIPAA regulation act wanted. If the business partner was to access any medical records and information written by the physician himself/herself, he/ she was required to take a contractual agreement which made sure that the business associate had taken all the necessary steps in ensuring privacy of patients information was in accordance with the privacy standards. Calloway and Venagas (2002), indicated that the regulation required the physicians to pay a significant cost for compliance. Past researches stated that, for a medical care to implement the HIPAA privacy and confidentiality provisions, it had to pay a total cost of between $4 billion and $20 billion. Recent study by Lee (2002), indicated that the health industry paid $8.7 billion in 2004 to comply with the HIPAA regulations.
According to Calloway and Venagas (2002), the average physician’s office spent over $190 thousand in 2002 to comply with the regulations of HIPAA. Cahill (2001) stressed that the true impact on physician’s office depended on the quality of training given to the patients, effectiveness of the privacy policies and procedures and the effectiveness of the education training process. In ensuring that the privacy policies and procedures were successfully enacted, the Department of Health and Human Services ensured that the physician’s offices undertook trainings for its staff members especially the newly recruited or hired staff. Lee (2002) indicated that the main challenges faced by physician’s office were how to effectively educate the employees and the patients concerning HIPAA regulations and how they affected routine of checking records. It has been noted that most physicians are so slow in responding to HIPAA regulations and this raises question of concerns from the patients who expect the education trainings to help them understand the regulations better and know their rights. This study will focus on the impacts this has had on patients and how they view education training process efficiencies.
The study will assume that all the participating patients have been through the education trainings process so that they can be in a position to explain if it is helping them understand their rights. It will also operate on the assumption that the patients taken represent the other patients who did not participate in the study.
The limitation of the study includes lack of enough participants for the study. The research will be operated on the assumption that the chosen patients will be a representative of the other patients who are not in the research study.
The research seeks to determine the effectiveness of the education training process of the patients by the physician’s office. By the end of the research, it is possible to understand how the patients think about the education process. The research will evaluate if there is any information that has been left out while undertaking the education and training process and how they can be educated on there rights. Total additional costs on the education training will be estimated for the patients undertaking the process to get to understand how HIPAA regulations operate. As it has been noted by Lee (2002), the implementation of HIPAA regulations has led to an increase in the overhead costs by the physician’s office.
Cahill, J.F. (2001), ‘Implications of the New Privacy Standards for Health Care Institutions,
Healthcare Financial Management, vol 55, no 6.
Calloway, S.D. and Venegas, L.M. (2002), ‘The New HIPAA Law on Privacy and
Confidentiality’, Nursing Administration, vol 26, no 4, pp. 40-54.
Clark, B. (2002), ‘Don’t delay HIPAA readiness’, Modern Healthcare, vol 30, p.18.
Friedman, E. (2001), ‘Who Should Have Access to Our Information? Privacy through the Ethics
Lens’, Journal of American Health Information Management Association, vol 4, pp 16-50
Hagan, John and Carla .S. (2002). ‘First and Last Words.’ Sociological Methods & Research, vol
31: pp 218–54.
Kothari, C. (2008). Research methodology: Methods and techniques (2nd ed.). New Delhi: New Age International Publishers
Lee, D.L. (2002), ‘Understanding HIPAA’, Journal of the National Medical Association, vol 94
no 8, pp. 15-16.