Compliance has gradually become more complex to navigate as healthcare providers continue to depend on evolving technologies to distribute and store data. This is primarily because most medical image archives continue to increase by 40% annually.
Having to comply with security requirements from state and federal agencies can be a challenging undertaking, one that drains significant strength and labor. After all, healthcare providers, along with their IT vendors, should not only obtain compliance but also demonstrate that they are a reliable resource. This is why it is essential for medical providers to have a system that is not only clear and efficient but is also fast and secure.
If you’re reading this, then chances are that you have probably heard of the term HIPAA. It is normally used by many healthcare providers and cloud vendors to asseverate rectitude, availability, and confidentiality in the creation, distribution, receipt, and maintenance of data while simultaneously developing fair security against threats.
Although compliance is essential in healthcare, there is sufficient obscurity in the HIPAA regulation, which can be misinterpreted. Whether it is the need for review management, log collection, or data security, the guidelines stated in HIPAA are too squashy to help direct providers in the right path and guarantee them complete data protection.
For that reason, providers that observe HIPAA requirements often execute security controls that are not only insufficient but also unjustifiable. It should be noted that being compliant does not necessarily mean that the environment is safe from cyber threats.
The challenge that comes with following HIPAA protocols is defining a vendor that is truly compliant to the standards from those that claim industry-grade security and compliance but may not reach the level of docility that healthcare providers anticipate.
With more than $28 million Office for Civil Rights (OCR) fines issued in 2018, the need for a consistent, actionable, and standardized computing becomes more evident. This is where the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) can help.
What is HITRUST?
Designed by healthcare and IT experts, HITRUST is responsible for providing organizations with a potent and prescriptive structure to easily manage the security requirements that were absent in HIPAA. Also, HITRUST also gets rid of the instabilities and unwanted resources that are normally found in reporting healthcare compliance.
HITRUST can provide healthcare companies a credible yardstick from which they can evaluate and supervise their compliance while providing top-notch security to their customers. It is, however, important to note that this does not necessarily mean that HIPAA should be ignored but rather HITRUST should be considered as a progressive approach to meeting standards.
Also Read : HITRUST vs HIPAA – What’s the Difference?
HITRUST is a mixture of security standards that include HIPAA, PCI-DSS, FTC, COBIT, HITECH, and NIST, among others. As the primary gatekeeper, HITRUST has become the barometer for compliance framework in the field of healthcare.
In this guide, we will take an in-depth look at the elaborate nature of HITRUST, the costs, steps, and measures you need to achieve a HITRUST CSF certification. We will also emphasize some of the risks to avoid along the way.
Basics of the HITRUST Framework
Together with leading technology, security, and healthcare organizations, HITRUST established the Common Security Framework (CSF), which is the most extensive and popular security framework in the healthcare system of North America.
Currently, it is maintained by industry professionals who have objectives of designing measurable means of overseeing risks related to data and information. These leaders do not only epitomize the governance of the organization but also have the initiative to make sure that the framework can meet the needs of different industries.
Generally, organizations can make use of CSF to guide them in choosing and executing the proper control to protect the systems that create, transmit, and store personal data. What is more, HITRUST CSF is also responsible for providing organizations with the necessary structure, information, and clarity about information security controls.
Interestingly enough, HITRUST is also built based on the standards of ISO 27001. Dissimilar to other governmental regulations, HITRUST offers CSF certifications to businesses to ensure that their cloud service provider is compliant with its standards.
It is, however, essential to keep in mind that having a HITRUST CSF certification is more than just achieving a badge of recognition but instead it shows that you put the security and privacy of your patients’ information above everything else. This all-encyclopedic approach significantly minimizes the risk, costs, and complexity of managing compliance across an expansive range of regulatory requirements.
Apart from that, HITRUST also provides healthcare entities and business associates with relevant insights into handling and trimming down security risks. This is an excellent way of having explicit and usable guidelines to approach security risk mitigation and data protection positively.
With that taken into account, it is advisable for companies that are required to be compliant with ISO, COBIT, PCI, FTC, NIST, Red Flag, and HIPAA to also acquire a HITRUST CSF certification. Doing so allows you to not only minimize cyber threats but also scale and evolve according to your needs and organization size.
In other words, organizations specializing in healthcare, finance, and insurance, which all handle and exchange information in a broad network should all obtain a HITRUST CSF certification.
Benefits of HITRUST Certification
The benefits that come with acquiring a HITRUST CSF certification could not be understated. In a constantly changing landscape of healthcare security, a HITRUST CSF certification is essential in addressing a plethora of local, national, and global regulatory concerns and guidelines. Among the advantages of being CSF-certified include:
1. Setting Clear Standards
Effectively setting clear standards is crucial in managing information and creating a culture of accountability among professionals. Achieving HITRUST CSF certification enables entities to meet the requirements of building a top-notch security dense which diminishes the need for resources to continuously react to innovative security audits.
Being certified also helps businesses in the tedious process of auditing. This is because HITRUST auditors provide you with multiple reports that can address several regulatory and legislative frameworks like NIST, PCI-DSS, or HIPAA.
Furthermore, HITRUST CSF also reduces complexity and costs relating to the adoption of a specific set of assessment processes and security objectives. Best of all, it harmonizes with multiple regulations and standards, making it the summit of verified trust.
2. Scalable Cybersecurity
In comparison to other frameworks, HITRUST CSF is consisting of a set of controls that can easily be scaled on a risk-based approach to ensure that it can meet the present and future needs of the organization. Having a scalable system like HITRUST CSF further helps organizations to be more competitive and efficient in delivering quality services to their customers.
Always bear in mind that market demands are never static. They continue to evolve as the needs and interests of people change and as resources flow in and out of availability. To stay relevant in the fierce world of business, you have to be able to make some changes and fill the needs of people.
The framework of HITRUST is updated regularly to see to it that healthcare companies using the system are ready whenever fresh regulations and security threats are introduced. It is the most heavily updated security program in use, with quarterly updates and annual audit changes provided by HITRUST auditors. Put simply, businesses who adhere to the CSF standards actively ensures that they are able to maximize their security.
3. Strengthening Brand Reputation
Perhaps the most significant advantage of obtaining a HITRUST CSF certification is to strengthen brand reputation. It is no secret that most consumers are mindful and concerned by cyber threats and privacy breaches.
With hacks occurring every 39 seconds, having a platform that can accurately provide security and security allows an organization to create a foundation for better healthcare services. Thanks to its customized set of controls that combat cyber risks, healthcare professionals can spend more time focusing on patient care rather than wasting it on being anxious about compliance.
On top of everything else, HITRUST CSF also cross-references the security controls of organizations to the desired standards and regulations. This is especially valuable to institutions with a huge amount of stakeholders that have different reporting needs.
Obtaining a HITRUST CSF Certification
Obtaining a HITRUST CSF Certification is not easy and is surely not cheap. This is because HITRUST CSF has a more potent set of requirements compared to other frameworks and standards.
A customary HITRUST validated assessment often has more than 400 control requirements in addition to five different maturity evaluation levels. Put simply, an assessor has to look and scrutinize 2000-25000 pieces of documentation to validate an assessment.
While the journey to being CSF certified initially begins in submitting a validated assessment, HITRUST recommends organizations to conduct a readiness assessment. In most cases, a readiness assessment is executed internally by a third-party to not only help businesses get acquainted with CSF requirements but also pinpoint control gaps that should be discussed before going forward.
In a readiness assessment, a third-party like RSI Security will evaluate your compliance against five maturity levels, specifically process, procedure, implementation, measure, and managed. Controls are subsequently classified into 19 distinctive assessment domains. This is because HITRUST CSF is a single-source regulatory and compliance framework that is comprised of EU GDPR rules, HITECH, ISO 27001, and a wide range of other industry systems as well as state-specific regulations.
Likewise, it is also in the HITRUST audit checklist that organizations have a readiness assessment performed by a certified CSF assessor who will eventually perform the validated assessment. Using this process, businesses can get the perspective of the assessor on the gaps that need to be tackled and enable them to discuss ways on how to deal with it.
Normally, the assessment stage can last between two weeks to as long as eight weeks, depending on the complexity of the scope environment, the amount of information, and the complexity of the business. Additionally, organizations must also have at least a rating of 62 percent or greater in each maturity level to receive a HITRUST certification.
During the time of the review, HITRUST comes up with a report detailing your organization’s compliance and rating against the aforementioned maturity levels. Upon the completion and approval of a validated assessment, the organization is required to pay a certification fee, send remedial action plans, and allow HITRUST to evaluate the results of the validated assessment.
The business will only receive a certification letter and a HITRUST certification once there are no significant issues found beyond what was recognized in the validated assessment. The HITRUST certification is valid for two years, provided that the organization continues to keep track of the effective operation of controls throughout the period.
It is also paramount to note that businesses must also not undergo considerable changes in practices and security policies to keep the certification. Addedly, organizations, should likewise ensure that their systems and facilities meet the standards for the certification to be deemed valid.
Why become HITRUST CSF certified today?
While HITRUST compliance is not always needed in the adoption of innovative technologies, businesses should consider the opportunity it provides to centralize compliance and security as a component of the implementation process.
Digital healthcare is growing by leaps and bounds, making it more vulnerable to cyberattacks. While cyber threats are certainly inescapable, being HITRUST compliance ensures that you keep abreast of changing hacker strategies and fend off unauthorized access to classified material.
Plus, a HITRUST CSF certification can also help your brand stand out from the sea of competition as it portrays that your company is strong, enthusiastic, and committed to providing quality healthcare and compliance. This is incredibly crucial because a breach can often lead to irreparable damages to the financial, social, and reputational aspects of the business.