Online Course Production Streamlines HIPAA Compliance

Wed April 27, 2016

Each year, over 10,000 UW-Madison employees and affiliates must complete training per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). For doctors, researchers and other staff members handling protected health information, this can be difficult to complete while managing an already full workload.

With the goal of improving the compliance rate and completion time for UW-Madison’s HIPAA Privacy & Security Training, the University Privacy Office worked closely with DoIT Academic Technology’s Online Course Production (OCP) group to enhance the user experience and simplify the implementation for Health Care Component stakeholders.

“We have an in-depth understanding of the information that needed to be included, but this doesn’t automatically lead to an efficient and intuitive training program” said David Behinfar, HIPAA Privacy Officer. “The Online Course Production team were critical in this aspect and conceptualized not only the format and delivery of the training content, but the organizational structure and resources to manage the thousands of required participants.”

“For the training to be a success,” explained Nicole Olthafer, the lead instructional designer for the project, “it had to provide ease of access, intuitive navigation, as well as concise and engaging content. Additionally, the implementation had to be streamlined and simple enough for the eight privacy coordinators to enroll their users, query user completion data, and provide follow-ups across the large population.”

As with most campus-wide projects, collaboration played a crucial role in developing the training. OCP helped the University Privacy Office engage with partners such as the Office of Talent Management, Graduate School, Office of Cybersecurity, DoIT Help Desk and other services from DoIT Academic Technology including Teaching & Research Application Development, Learn@UW and our project management team.

“Working with so many stakeholders can be challenging, but the OCP staff were with us every step of the way,” said Behinfar. “And it resulted in a higher completion rate and lower completion time than we even targeted. We had nearly 90% compliance within the month we gave the 10,000 users to complete the training. On this campus, most will agree this was no easy feat! Plus, the project was delivered within a tight timeframe and on budget.”

Staff and new hires continue to take the HIPAA training and can also visit to stay updated on policies, procedures and guidelines.

Compliance efforts are rarely highlighted, but are critical to fulfilling the regulatory and organizational requirements that allow UW-Madison to remain a world-class institution. DoIT Academic Technology’s OCP team can assist with developing a user-friendly training through a supportive, organized process.  For the HIPAA training, instructional technologists Phil Curran and Nicole Olthafer as well project manager Jon Orum led the effort from the OCP team.


Photo by Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin–Madison