It's the little things that add up. Like the minutes it takes annually to deal with each patient's HIPAA notice of privacy practices for protected healthcare information. Annually, that task eats up about 30.7 million hours of healthcare workers' and patients' time. Think of it as 35 centuries worth of bureaucracy.
Add in a couple more million hours for other tasks, and you have 32.8 million—the number of hours HHS estimates it will take people in the U.S. interacting with the healthcare industry to comply with the privacy and security rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
Most of that whopping number represents annual time consumption. The exception is for roughly 619,000 hours of “new burdens associated with the final rule” HHS issued this January to reflect the amendments to the two acts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
These numbers of truly historic proportions are contained in a notice from HHS' Office for Civil Rights and published in the Federal Register.
But the most time is spent on those privacy notices. They may take just about 3 minutes apiece, but there are 613 million of these routine notices to be delivered, signed and stored annually.
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