Does that mean anything to you? How about HIPAA. Yes, by the cringe that likely just shot over your face, I can tell that HIPAA, even if the full name of the legislation doesn’t catch your eye, means quite a lot to you. In some offices HIPAA is still the equivalent of a curse word. But why? Is it because the passing of HIPAA and the additions over the years has caused you an immense increase in workload? Is it the headache you get trying to make sense of all the implications it has on your office? Is it the stress you feel from sifting through the legal jargon to pull out what you need to do differently in your office? Or is it that the changes just plain seem unnecessary to you?
Whatever it is about HIPAA that you dislike, I have one suggestion to help alleviate some of the HIPAA stress in your life. A paradigm shift. Self-help books everywhere typically hit this major topic at some point in their pages. Basically they are suggesting changing the way you look at and see things. Put on new glasses. Changing your perspective can change your attitude and your feelings about something.
Let’s be honest. No one really likes to be told what to do. Think of the two-year-olds you know. They love the word, “No!” You tell them what to put on, they say it. You give them a plate and tell them to eat, again they respond with the determined, “No!” And you’re left thinking, “But she loved that dress last week,” or “But grapes are her favorite.” The point is she doesn’t want to be told what to do. Give her a choice of what to wear and it will be no surprise when she picks out that dress. Ask her if she’s hungry and she might ask for those grapes.
So, you’re probably thinking right now, “What in the world does this have to do with HIPAA?” Adults are really no different than 2-year-olds in at least one sense. We don’t like to be told what to do either. Many of the ideas of HIPAA are sound ideas that many of us would have gladly implemented in our office—if we came up with them. But we start to squirm when Congress tells us we are required to do something. My suggestion is to forget about Congress. When you are sifting through your policies and procedures to make sure you are HIPAA compliant in every way, do it with your favorite patient in mind. Think of Mrs. Harrison, that sweet older lady who always comes in with a smile on her face. Think of Jeff, that high school student who wants to be the tough guy but is obviously the nicest kid. Whoever it is—that patient you would help with anything—think of him or her. They might even be clueless about HIPAA and all your office is doing to protect them and be HIPAA compliant. It doesn’t matter. Do it because you care about them. And you care that in a day and age when the personal information of others is a commodity to be bought and sold, you want to keep them safe from that threat—even if they are unaware of it.
Do you feel a little calmer already? Good. Now keep those positive patients rolling through your mind as you go tackle some of your paperwork.