Some industry watchers believe health care organizations could be headed for an IT resource shortage as HIPAA deadlines draw closer.
"There will be a resource crunch," predicts Wes Rishel, a research director with Gartner. "Those who get started late will take longer or pay more to reach their solution." He adds that most health care organizations have started late, save for a small percentage of payers and providers that got an early jump on compliance.
IT services firms looking to soak up the demand include longtime health-focused firms such as Accenture, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and Keane Inc. Internet integrators and application service providers are also in the hunt.
HIPAA also has attracted players new to health care. "Ive seen many services firms [that are] primarily security focused suddenly become health care services focused," says Jesse Bowen, a health care security specialist with Accenture.
One such firm is Integralis US, the American arm of European security consultant Articon-Integralis AG. Integralis Chicago-based consulting group is looking at HIPAA, among other opportunities.
But signs of panic buying are not evident. "We learned from Y2K not to presume to predict demand timing," says Jon Scarpelli, a VP with integrator Ciber.