In the world of healthcare security, regulations, and compliance, HIPAA and HITRUST are often seen as being the same. Actually, though HIPAA compliance and HITRUST certification are not interchangeable, they are certainly related.
Understanding the relationship between the two and the role each plays can have an impact on the security of your organization and its ability to meet the healthcare industry’s ever-evolving regulations and standards.
Breaking Down The Relationship Of HIPAA And HITRUST
Before taking a deeper look at the relationship between HIPAA and HITRUST, it is helpful to understand each individually.
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Congress passed this important law in 1996 to set national standards for protecting medical records and other personal health information. The law applies to health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers that share information electronically.
Among other things, HIPAA gives patients rights over their health information, including their right to examine and obtain copies of their health records. HIPAA also declares which other individuals have the right to access and discuss the patient’s personal medical information with a healthcare professional.
Healthcare organizations realize they need to be HIPAA compliant, but the absence of an official HIPAA certification or accredited body means that any organization can claim that it is compliant, when it may be far from it.
And even becoming compliant at a particular time isn’t enough; the regular changes in HIPAA regulations mean that maintaining compliance can be like hitting a moving target. Providers may not be aware of the updates, so they fail to meet standards while thinking that they are working within the code of federal regulations (CFR).
By the time a provider discovers it isn’t HIPAA compliant, it is often too late; that lack of compliance is often exposed by a security breach, which can have a devastating impact on the company. Research shows that 60% of organizations that suffer a cyberattack are out of business within six months.
There is no denying that staying on top of HIPAA compliance standards is tedious, but that’s where HITRUST comes in. It protects both organizations and those they serve.
While HIPAA is an act that details standards for compliance, HITRUST is a privately held entity that helps organizations achieve those standards. This is made possible with HITRUST’s common security framework (CSF).
The HITRUST CSF provides a comprehensive, standardized, and certifiable framework for efficiently complying with HIPAA’s regulatory standards and reducing the chances of a security breach. So while HIPAA does not have an official certification, HITRUST does. HITRUST certification is the gold standard in the healthcare industry because of its reputation and its notable benefits.
The Benefits Of HITRUST Certification
Research shows that most data attacks target the healthcare industry. Furthermore, reports indicate that nearly nine out of ten healthcare organizations have already suffered a security breach. And that number is expected to quadruple by 2020.
As threats of security breaches rise, achieving HITRUST certification is becoming ever more crucial for boosting security. And aside from protecting organizations, certification provides several other key benefits.
It Reduces Cyber Security Insurance Premiums
HITRUST’s reputation in the data-protection space has translated to lower insurance premiums for certified organizations. Companies also commonly experience increases to their benefit limits.
It Breaks Down Key Barriers To Entry
In many cases, HITRUST certification is required to do business with some of the largest organizations in the healthcare industry, such as major hospitals and health centers. Most key players will not work with vendors who are not HITRUST certified.
It Facilitates Management Of Ongoing Changes In HIPAA
HIPAA comprises more than 50,000 pages of constantly updated regulations. Staying up to speed with these changes can be daunting. The HITRUST CSF streamlines this process, which helps companies focus more on their work instead of maintaining compliance.
The Challenges Of HITRUST Certification
It’s important to note that, with all of these business-enhancing and protective benefits, achieving HITRUST certification can be difficult and time-consuming. However, achieving certification is still absolutely worth it. Despite the rigorous process, an organization’s path to HITRUST certification can be simplified with the help of the right cloud partner.
Cloudticity became HITRUST-certified in 2017, so we know the ins and outs of the process. HITRUST certification made us a better company. We’re significantly more mature and more secure, and HITRUST substantially reduced our risk of a debilitating security breach. It’s our mission to help other healthcare organizations meet that same level of security and HIPAA compliance.
If you want to learn more about HITRUST certification, check out our free webinar on how the cloud can accelerate the certification process.