The N.C. Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance (NCHICA) has released HIPAA EarlyView Security version 2.1.

The software tool is designed to help healthcare providers,plans and clearinghouses assess their current state of compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which includes security regulations to protect the integrity, availability and confidentiality of identifiable health information. The deadline for compliance is April 21, 2005.

The HIPAA EarlyView Security tool features a series of 165 questions that correspond to each requirement of the final security rule and over 20 built-in reports. In addition, users can link to the actual security rule text and “Things to Think About” for each question.

“With little over one year left before the deadline, covered entities must begin working on their compliance strategy now,” said Holt Anderson, executive director of NCHICA. “Our tool offers a cost-effective method for organizations to learn about the HIPAA Security Rule requirements and develop a strategy for reaching compliance.”