by Rick Kuwahara CMO of Paubox
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HITRUST Certification: The Benefits for Healthcare Organizations

by Rick Kuwahara CMO of Paubox

HITRUST develops and maintains a Common Security Framework (CSF) that sets the standard for compliance in the healthcare industry.

Certification helps organizations that handle Protected Health Information (PHI) manage cybersecurity risks and improve their security posture.

HITRUST integrates a host of security standards, including HIPAA, and was developed by healthcare and IT experts to offer the most effective data and security protection possible. The framework incorporates local, national, and global guidelines for privacy and security. 

It also is one of the only certifications that requires a separate third-party auditor to make sure organizations meet their standards.

The result is a robust certification that not only helps organizations themselves, but allows providers to move faster when working with vendors that are HITRUST CSF certified.

How to become HITRUST CSF certified

Being HITRUST certified demonstrates that your organization prioritizes safeguarding patients’ personal health information. Furthermore, you are required to be HITRUST CSF certified if your organization manages PHI in any way. This can include doctor’s offices, insurance companies, pharmacies, healthcare vendors, hospitals and more.

Since healthcare is subject to a complex web of regulatory guidelines, the process can be intensive and different for each organization.

After implementing the Common Security Framework (CSF), an initial assessment must be completed that can range from 2-8 weeks. Then it can take up to 6 weeks to get validated and receive final certification. The overall process can take a total of 3-4 months.  

The benefits of HITRUST certification

With the dissemination of digital healthcare information on the rise, healthcare organizations are more vulnerable than ever to cyber-attacks and PHI breaches. It’s now essential to use frameworks like HITRUST to maintain protection against these increasingly sophisticated cybercrimes.

The main benefits of becoming HITRUST certified include being able to:

  • Ensure proper security of patient health information
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest security risks
  • Set your organization above the competition by displaying your commitment to security compliance
  • Reduce risk with a better information security framework
  • Save time during compliance audits
  • Achieve the closest possible to complete HIPAA compliance 

For healthcare providers looking to onboard a new vendor, lengthy security questionnaires can be pared down or even eliminated if the vendor is HITRUST CSF certified. Streamlining an often tedious process and helping organizations move faster.

Conclusion

The good news is that remaining HITRUST CSF certified gets easier over time.

Usually, you follow the same process every time you re-certify so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And there are a lot of resources available to help you through every step.

All the costs and time spent can pay off in the end because any breach can have huge financial and reputational consequences for healthcare organizations and vendors.