In today’s ever-changing cybersecurity landscape, healthcare organizations are especially under pressure to keep protected health information (PHI) safe from cybercriminal activity. This challenge has grown more complicated over the past decade as more healthcare services are delivered using cloud computing and other information technologies.
As the industry continues to evolve, providers are increasingly procuring solutions through the Health Information Trust (HITRUST) Alliance. This organization created the HITRUST CSF, a common framework for assessing and validating data security within the healthcare industry. Designed to group several standards under one umbrella, the CSF aims to uphold the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information systems relevant to healthcare.
Why does HITRUST exist?
Healthcare organizations are required by HIPAA — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — to protect PHI from unauthorized access and disclosure. Over time, however, it became clear that HIPAA had its limitations, namely that it and its addendums failed to enact comprehensive, predictive standards and enforcement mechanisms. In turn, healthcare and IT leaders bound together to form the HITRUST Alliance.
Furthermore, healthcare organizations are a frequent target of cyber attacks. According to Black Kite, the healthcare industry is the most frequent source of third-party data breaches, accounting for over a third of all incidents in 2022. Cyber attacks are so damaging that many incidents have even disrupted medical services, severely hindering patient outcomes nationwide. In an effort to combat these growing challenges, more healthcare providers are validating their technology vendors against the HITRUST CSF.
Who needs HITRUST?
Generally, healthcare providers may require any entity that processes PHI to obtain a HITRUST certification before they do business. This includes independent software vendors (ISVs) that market cloud products to the healthcare industry.
Although HITRUST certification isn’t legally mandated, its prescriptive framework covers many compliance controls that HIPAA requires. Thus, organizations are sourcing cloud solutions to HITRUST-compliant vendors since it’s widely considered the most comprehensive industry standard.
ISVs that validate their cloud security by earning a HITRUST certification can more effectively assure their customers their applications are tested against the most rigorous controls. In fact, HITRUST CSF is considered the industry’s “gold standard” because of its ability to harmonize dozens of authoritative sources within one single framework. In the eyes of a healthcare organization, compliance demonstrates a dedication to proactive risk mitigation and information security.
Bottom line: If you’re an ISV operating in the healthcare market, chances are you’ll need HITRUST compliance sooner or later. Without certification, you limit your ability to penetrate an emerging market and may hinder your long-term business growth.
Becoming HITRUST certified
Unfortunately, because HITRUST CSF truly is one of the most rigorous security frameworks in the world, achieving HITRUST compliance is much easier said than done. The good news? Project Hosts has your back. When you work with Project Hosts, you can simplify the assessment process and greatly reduce the burden of maintaining HITRUST compliance.
Ready to learn more about Project Hosts? Contact our team today.