A Quick Guide to HITRUST

22 Apr 2021

HITRUST was originally founded in 2007 and primarily focused on healthcare security. The HITRUST Common Security Framework has become popular across multiple industries and is now the most commonly applied security framework. According to HITRUST Alliance, the framework is used by over 84 percent of health plans, business associates and organizations. Getting HITRUST certified is beneficial for a lot of companies, but it can be difficult to get to grips with the ins and outs of this framework. Here is a quick guide to HITRUST and why organizations can benefit from obtaining certification.

An Introduction to HITRUST

The Health Information Trust Alliance, or HITRUST, is a non-profit organization that established the Common Security Framework (CSF). CSF is the standard for information security, and it can be used by all businesses to tackle challenges relating to security, privacy and regulations. CSF is made up of a complete framework of scalable and prescriptive controls that help organizations confront the aforementioned challenges. Attaining HITRUST Certification can be a lengthy and complex process. However, companies that achieve this certification can offer their customers a higher level of assurance.

Organizations that have invested in HITRUST certification reassure their clients they are dedicated to security and compliance. Clients can be assured that the organization’s IT and business processes have been reviewed by arbitrary auditors, and that their security is at a high standard.

Preparing for HITRUST Certification

To prepare for HITRUST certification, an organization must be assessed by a HITRUST CSF assessor firm that provides HITRUST Certified CSF Practitioners (CCSFP). The assessor will review the organization's security controls and should incorporate HIPAA, NIST, ISO, SOC 2 and PCI DSS frameworks. They will assess the company’s controls and help them create a plan to meet necessary requirements. A follow-up assessment is performed the year after certification. The independent assessor will offer advice to help the organization maintain their requirements. This third-party assessment and verification helps to verify the credibility of HITRUST CSF certification. In addition to third-party assessment, organizations can perform independent verification too. For self-assessment, organizations must provide evidence to support their scores.

Why HITRUST is Important For Healthcare

In the healthcare industry within the United States, HITRUST is the most popular security framework. The HITRUST framework is updated regularly which means that healthcare organizations are always prepared for new security risks and regulations. The ever-evolving framework is updated every quarter and features annual audit changes. The frequency of the updates allows businesses to rest assured that their security is up to standard. It also helps companies manage Business Associate compliance. In addition, HITRUST CSF is a requirement for some major healthcare payers.

Is it Compulsory to be HITRUST Compliant?

While it is not compulsory for all companies to be HITRUST compliant, organizations that produce, access, store or exchange information in relation to personal health should be HITRUST compliant. These organizations include healthcare vendors, pharmacies and hospitals. HITRUST CSF is the most applied security framework and being certified will help organizations stand out.
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