HITRUST: Beyond Healthcare Compliance Management Software

HITRUST: Beyond Healthcare Compliance Management Software

Organizations trying to manage healthcare compliance can look to the healthcare compliance management software and frameworks offered by the HITRUST Alliance. Compliance with HITRUST CSF will strengthen your entire IT infrastructure and protect you from cybersecurity threats common to the healthcare industry and beyond. Read on to learn more.


How to Manage Healthcare Compliance with HITRUST CSF

The most important considerations for achieving a high ROI with the HITRUST CSF’s healthcare compliance management software include:

  • A breakdown of the HITRUST CSF framework and its categories of controls
  • Differentiating factors of the HITRUST CSF as compliance software for healthcare
  • Tools for optimizing HITRUST CSF compliance to your organization-specific needs

Working with a HITRUST CSF compliance partner will help you streamline all aspects of HITRUST CSF compliance, ensuring you stay up-to-date with any changes to HITRUST and remain fully compliant.


What is the HITRUST CSF?

The HITRUST CSF is a comprehensive, risk-based security framework that streamlines regulatory compliance for organizations within and adjacent to healthcare. 

Beyond standardizing regulatory compliance, the HITRUST CSF safeguards data privacy and security and can be scaled to meet the needs of any entity. The HITRUST CSF has also been widely and internationally adopted as a compliance management system for healthcare, helping multiple organizations strengthen their healthcare data security.


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HITRUST Control Categories

Compliance with the HITRUST CSF requires implementing the standardized privacy and security controls prescribed by the HITRUST.

The controls listed in HITRUST CSF v9.6.0 are grouped into 14 categories, namely:

  • Control Category 0.0 – Information security management
  • Control Category 01.0 – Access control management
  • Control Category 02.0 – Human resources security management
  • Control Category 03.0 – Risk management
  • Control Category 04.0 – Security policy management
  • Control Category 05.0 – Information security organization
  • Control Category 06.0 – Compliance management
  • Control Category 07.0 – Asset management
  • Control Category 08.0 – Physical and environmental security management
  • Control Category 09.0 – Communications and security operations management 
  • Control Category 10.0 – Information systems management
  • Control Category 11.0 – Security incident management
  • Control Category 12.0 – Business continuity planning and management
  • Control Category 13.0 – Privacy practice management

The implementation of HITRUST CSF controls may look different across organizations, depending on security needs, industry, or organization size. The HITRUST CSF also comes with a robust compliance software for healthcare, the MyCSF platform, making its broad data privacy and security controls easier to implement and certify.


HITRUST CSF Maturity Levels

When it comes to assessing compliance with the HITRUST CSF, entities can leverage the criteria stipulated in the HITRUST CSF control maturity model for scoring and evaluation. 

Unlike other types of healthcare compliance management software, HITRUST’s maturity levels enable organizations to methodically and strategically assess their compliance with the HITRUST CSF controls. The five HITRUST CSF maturity levels include:

  • Level 1 (Policy) – At the first maturity level, organizations must implement security policies and standards to govern the implementation of HITRUST controls. Any implemented policies must also ensure adherence to the specifications listed in individual controls.
  • Level 2 (Procedures) – At the second maturity level, organizations are required to implement processes and procedures to achieve the stipulations of security policies and standards and ensure that the said procedures are within the scope of the HITRUST control assessments.
  • Level 3 (Implemented) – At the “Implemented” level, organizations must ensure that established policies and corresponding procedures are fully implemented across the organization. 
  • Level 4 (Measured) – At the fourth level, maturity is assessed by using monitoring tools to continuously evaluate the effectiveness of given control implementations, ensuring alignment with policies and procedures.
  • Level 5 (Managed) – At the highest level of HITRUST maturity, organizations are evaluated based on their ability to effectively manage control implementations based on the “Measured” level. Maturity Level 5 is instrumental in evaluating an entity’s adaptability when control implementations change unexpectedly.

It helps to understand how each HITRUST CSF maturity level may apply to your organization’s compliance on the journey to achieving and maintaining HITRUST certification. Working with a HITRUST CSF compliance partner will help you optimize control implementations and streamline the path to achieving your desired HITRUST CSF maturity level.


Healthcare Compliance Management Software: The HITRUST Difference

Entities within and adjacent to healthcare are common targets for cybercriminals, underscoring the need to implement robust security controls to stay ahead of cyberattacks. Unlike other types of healthcare compliance management software, HITRUST not only streamlines compliance from the get-go but also helps organizations remain compliant in the short and long term. 

Other benefits to relying on the HITRUST CSF as a compliance management system for healthcare and beyond include streamlined compliance, simplified compliance assessments, and optimized data privacy and risk management.


Streamlined Compliance with Healthcare Adjacent Frameworks

Healthcare and healthcare-adjacent organizations often interface with organizations from various industries and must protect the sensitive data stored, processed, or transmitted. 

In addition to HIPAA compliance, healthcare providers or billing services that process card payments must comply with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) to secure these transactions. Similarly, HIPAA covered entities that process data belonging to citizens of EU Member States must comply with the EU GDPR to safeguard data privacy.

Likewise, these entities must comply with the PCI DSS if the data in question is cardholder data.

Beyond HIPAA, PCI DSS, and EU GDPR, the CSF also contains controls for frameworks such as the NIST 800-171 and CMMC for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors.

By complying with the HITRUST CSF, entities can achieve compliance across frameworks and secure the various types of sensitive healthcare and healthcare-adjacent data. 

Furthermore, HITRUST-compliant organizations may not be required to complete the individual assessments required by each respective framework. In many cases, they can achieve certification across multiple regulations through a single HITRUST CSF assessment.


Simplified Assessments with the MyCSF Tool

One of the key benefits of the HITRUST as healthcare compliance management software is the MyCSF Tool, which provides a framework for managing all aspects of HITRUST CSF compliance, including reporting compliance for subsequent certification. 

The MyCSF tool provides several features to help entities simplify HITRUST CSF assessments:

  • Assessments can be customized to an organization’s specific security needs (e.g., compliance with regulatory factors or industry-specific controls).
  • Supporting compliance documentation (i.e., evidence of control implementation) can be easily uploaded into the MyCSF tool library for future reference.
  • The roles of MyCSF users can be customized based on compliance or security needs.
  • Assessments submitted to the HITRUST for review can be tracked via MyCSF.
  • HITRUST CSF Validated Assessments can be scheduled up to a year in advance, ensuring an early start to the assessment process.
  • MyCSF can be used on a range of devices, including desktops, tablets, or mobiles.
  • Evidence of HIPAA compliance can be consolidated into a report via the MyCSF Compliance and Reporting Pack for HIPAA.

Leveraging the MyCSF compliance software management tool to assess, report, and track HITRUST CSF compliance will help improve the efficiency of compliance and assessment workflows and better manage data privacy and security risks.


Routinely Updated Security Controls

Compared to other types of healthcare compliance management software, the controls in the HITRUST CSF are routinely updated to ensure that organizations achieve the most up-to-date compliance and implement highly secure controls.

By maintaining up-to-date security controls, the HITRUST CSF enables:

  • Greater security assurance – The HITRUST CSF is widely recognized as a rigorous security framework that provides robust and reliable data privacy protections within and adjacent to healthcare. Compliance with the HITRUST CSF speaks volumes to stakeholders and potential business partners about an organization’s commitment to data security.
  • Robust risk management – With hundreds to thousands of security controls available at various maturity levels, the HITRUST CSF helps organizations manage risk, especially for controls that may frequently change (e.g., those based on state- or region-specific regulations).
  • Stronger data privacy – Even with increasing data privacy concerns, the HITRUST CSF stands out across industries as the regulatory framework whose routinely updated control requirements address data privacy in alignment with the rapidly-paced technological advancement of the digital landscape.

Compliance with the HITRUST CSF will help you maintain up-to-date data privacy and security and minimize the risks of data breaches. Since risks to the information security landscape are consistently changing, using healthcare compliance management software enables faster and more reliable threat mitigation.

Utilizing healthcare compliance management software such as the HITRUST CSF will also alleviate the burdens of cumbersome compliance workflows and processes.


How to Optimize HITRUST Compliance

Although the tools and processes available with the HITRUST CSF healthcare compliance management software make it a robust framework, compliance must be optimized to obtain the highest possible security ROI and assurance. 

When optimizing HITRUST compliance, you should consider which internal and external investments will achieve your desired ROI while leveraging and maximizing the inherent strengths of the HITRUST CSF framework.


Internal Staffing Investments

Compliance with the HITRUST CSF requires significant internal staffing resources to achieve the highest possible security assurance. More importantly, the internal staff will be leveraging the robustness of the CSF’s healthcare compliance management software to simplify the process of obtaining HITRUST certification and remaining HITRUST-compliant in the long term.

To effectively achieve compliance, your organization will require the following dedicated staff:

  • Compliance teams whose primary goal is to ensure smooth HITRUST compliance workflows for processes such as:
    • Documentation of compliance with internal security controls
    • Implementation of the controls listed in security policies
    • Development of processes and procedures to streamline control implementation
    • Monitoring changes to security controls and updating security policies
  • Trained personnel to manage IT infrastructure, including:
    • Physical hardware (e.g., servers, workstations, data storage environments)
    • Networks and firewalls
    • Cloud-based assets
  • Management teams to oversee all aspects of HITRUST compliance
  • Coordinators to help align the various teams to organization-specific compliance goals

Investing in developing internal teams is critical to seamlessly maintaining compliance and achieving HITRUST CSF readiness in the shortest possible time. 


External Advisory Investments

Optimizing HITRUST compliance is best achieved in partnership with a HITRUST CSF advisor who can guide on the most effective compliance best practices and considerations. Since the HITRUST CSF is a healthcare compliance management software, it is critical to understand how best to leverage its features at each stage of compliance until certification and beyond.

Prior to getting started with HITRUST certification, a CSF advisor can provide guidance on:

  • Preparedness – The first step in preparing for HITRUST certification is scoping out which requirements must be met before conducting a HITRUST assessment. Once requirements are identified, a Security Assessor can help determine your readiness for a HITRUST audit by:
    • Identifying security gaps and vulnerabilities
    • Collecting evidence of HITRUST CSF compliance
  • Remediation – Any gaps in security control implementations must be addressed prior to conducting an external HITRUST audit. Gap remediation can be conducted using tools such as:
  • Assessments – Identifying which HITRUST assessment best fits your needs will depend on your desired security assurance. There are three types of assessments offered by the HITRUST:
    • The basic Current State Assessment caters to organizations looking for the most basic security assurance, such as those starting out with HITRUST compliance.
    • The i1 Validated Assessment caters to organizations looking for moderate security assurance, especially if there are resource limitations to conducting the highest assurance assessment.
    • The rigorous r2 Validated Assessment caters to organizations looking for the highest level of security assurance provided by the HITRUST CSF. 

Leveraging the expertise of a HITRUST compliance partner, along with tools such as the MyCSF portal, will help you maximize ROI with HITRUST CSF as a healthcare compliance management software.


Effectively Manage Healthcare Compliance with HITRUST

Compliance with the HITRUST CSF will help you strengthen data privacy and security across your organization. As a widely-adopted healthcare compliance management software, the HITRUST CSF helps address the pressing security needs of organizations within and adjacent to healthcare, especially with the help of a HITRUST CSF compliance partner. To learn more about managing healthcare compliance with HITRUST, contact RSI Security today!



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