This Week in Imaging: HIPAA Regulations Provide Opportunity for Copier/MFP Vendors and Dealers


Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

It’s been a bit of slow news week (apart from news that an audacious reseller and his associates allegedly bilked Xerox out of millions in a toner-cartridge scam – see below), but nevertheless one item caught our eye, and we feel compelled to discuss it: a new Konica Minolta HIPAA-compliance program that provides consulting and training.

At this point in time, it’s highly unlikely that you’re unaware of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, aka HIPAA. Enacted on August 21, 1996 by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, Title I of HIPAA protects health-insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic healthcare transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers.

Title II is the most importance for our industry – that is the secure digital creation, storage, and transmission of health-related information of which literally tons exist because most of it still resides on paper. If you’ve recently required medical treatment you’ve seen it in action. Even the most advanced medical facilities will not send you your medical records electronically except via fax. More often than not, you may also be required to hand-deliver your printed medical records to another medical facility.

Why? Quite simply, the issue is security. It takes a lot of time and effort to comply with HIPAA’s security protocols, and most medical facilities are content with the status quo described above. After all, it’s the patient that’s the most inconvenienced by the paper-pushing ritual. However, since President Obama has taken office, he’s been pressing for full implementation of the electronic-distribution standards, as it save everybody (government agencies, the medical industry, and the patient) considerable time, money, and effort.

As the result of steadily declining print volumes, BTA vendors such as Canon, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Sharp, and Xerox have all been at the forefront of secure digital creation, storage, and distribution. They’ve developed advanced and secure MFPs with open platforms, and offer a number of turn-key solutions that are suitable for HIPAA applications.

Full implementation of the HIPAA digital creation, storage, and distribution protocols is inevitable. If you’re a copier/MFP dealer, VAR, or systems integrator, you’re in an excellent position to reap the forthcoming benefits by selling advanced hardware and solutions, upgrading existing customers, gaining new customers, and growing the scope of your business for the future. That said, your company or dealership needs to know by rote the ins-and-outs of HIPAA, and how you can apply existing technology in the most efficient manner in order to conform to its protocols. In the long run, this will save virtually everybody in the United States time, money, and effort. It’s a classic “win, win, win” scenario.

Office-Imaging News

  • Kodak Alaris Creates AI Foundry to Help Businesses Manage and Process Data with the Help of Artificial Intelligence – Read more here.
  • Kyocera Releases DocuWare Connector for Connecting to DocuWare Repositories, AccuSender for Sending Files up to 100 GB in Size – Read more here.
  • New HIPAA-Compliance Provides Consulting and Training – Read more here.

Financial News

  • Small Decline in Sales for OKI’s First Half, but Profits Slide; Will Expand Professional-Printer Business – Read more here.

Commercial-, Specialty- and Production-Printing News

  • DuPont Artistri Pigment Inks Now Available for Use with EFI Reggiani Digital Textile Printers – Read more here.
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