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How Does HITRUST Promote Healthcare Security?

Healthcare industry providers are relying on evolving technologies. These developing technologies have led to compliance issues in patient security. Overall, security in this industry has become increasingly complicated. Laws made by many government entities at the federal and state level, and overseas, mean that providers and their IT departments must achieve compliance, prove they are trustworthy, and that patient information is secure. This is where HITRUST comes in.

What is HITRUST?

The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) has a Common Security Framework (CSF) that was developed to address the security, privacy, and regulatory challenges in the healthcare industry. HITRUST was created as a way to provide the framework needed for managing the security requirements within Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) other regulations.

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HITRUST CSF has compiled all the healthcare and privacy related regulations and laws into a single security framework. It is a risk-based and compliance-based measure developed such that organizations can tailor their management programs to their specific organization type, size, systems, and regulatory requirements.

What Risks are Healthcare Organizations Subject to?

Healthcare organizations face many security risks. Patient and company files can be stolen by not only untrustworthy personnel but by hackers, including credit card information. It’s not just the risk of lost data that healthcare businesses are faced with, it’s also the trust of the client and patient, the risk of being sued or even getting fined by the Department of Health and Human Services.. In the end, a provider’s use of technology could affect their data, reputation, clientele, money, and more. However, leveraging HITRUST will help to prevent many of these risks.

How Can HITRUST Help the Healthcare Industry?

The primary goal of healthcare organizations is helping patients. As technology has advanced and records become digitized, protecting patient data has also become an issue. The healthcare industry is a prime target for cybercriminals looking to hack personal information from patient and company files to payment methods and prescriptions. Here are five ways that being HITRUST certified can help your healthcare business.

  • Protect patient data: The HITRUST guidelines are analyzed, revised, and updated frequently. While nothing is foolproof, following these recommendations helps to secure your data through the recommended use of the latest in cyber technology and crime prevention.
  • Safeguard internal data: Much like patient data, internal data is something that hackers are always looking for. Following the HITRUST guidelines and recommendations will help to protect their files.
  • Build customer trust: Obtaining HITRUST certification tells your patients that you are taking their privacy seriously and are committed to ongoing cybersecurity initiatives. This builds trust with patients, forming the foundation of a long-term relationship.
  • Reduce the risk of HIPAA noncompliance: If your organization obtains HITRUST certification, you’ve likely met your HIPAA compliance requirements, but it’s always best to talk to a healthcare cybersecurity expert.
  • Maintain brand reputation: Having a positive brand image is important. Portraying your brand as caring, helpful, and protective is vital in the healthcare industry. Achieving HITRUST certification can help maintain this image.
  • Avoid potential lawsuits: If you are being sued for not taking proper care of patient files, HITRUST certification can help you prove that you’re committed to protecting your patients.

How to Achieve HITRUST Certification in Your Healthcare Organization

Before starting the certification process, HITRUST recommends conducting a self-assessment. By completing this, you will help to prepare your organization for the real and validated assessment that will come later. To perform a self-assessment, go to page eight of the handbook given by HITRUST. It is strongly recommended that you use all 135 CSF controls rather than those just needed for the certification program.

After completing your self-assessment and fixing any issues you discover, it’s time to get certified. To begin the process, you must choose a HITRUST Assessor. You’ll also be required to purchase a validated assessment from HITRUST and complete the assessment using the MyCFS tool. The assessor you have chosen will perform the validation/audit work.

Once the Assessor has completed their work, they will submit it to HITRUST for review. HITRUST will create a report and score number which will be used to approve you for a letter of certification.

If this process is too complicated or if you don’t have the internal resources, hire a partner that can assist with your self-assessment. This can help you save time and money in addition to understanding the rules and laws in the industry.

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Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Michael Brown is a Senior IT Professional and Manager at 24By7Security, Inc. He has a BS in Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Florida Atlantic University. He has been elected President of South Florida ISSA chapter for 2018-2019. Michael has a long list of professional certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). Subscribe to the 24By7Security blog to read Michael’s articles.

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