hitrust vs hipaa

What is HITRUST Cyber Security Framework?

HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance) is a non-profit organization that provides a framework for managing and safeguarding sensitive information, specifically in the healthcare industry. HITRUST’s Common Security Framework (CSF) is a comprehensive, flexible, and efficient security framework that can be used by any organization that creates, accesses, stores, or exchanges sensitive and/or regulated information.

The HIRUST Compliance CSF is based on various standards, guidelines, and regulations, including ISO 27001, NIST SP 800-53, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA. In addition, the CSF includes a set of controls that organizations must implement to protect sensitive information and a certification process that organizations can use to demonstrate their compliance with the framework. As a result, HITRUST CSF certification is considered one of the industry’s most rigorous and comprehensive.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a federal law that was enacted in 1996 to protect the privacy and security of individuals’ health information. It applies to covered entities, including health plans, healthcare providers, and clearinghouses. HIPAA requires these entities to implement certain administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronically protected health information (ePHI).
The administrative safeguards include requirements for risk analysis, security management, and incident response.

Physical safeguards include requirements for facility access controls and workstation security.

Technical safeguards include requirements for access controls, audit controls, integrity controls, and transmission security. HIPAA also contains notification provisions in case of a breach of ePHI.
HIPAA also includes rules for how covered entities must handle the use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI). It gives individuals certain rights over their PHI, such as the right to access, correct, and receive an accounting of disclosures of their PHI. HIPAA also includes penalties for noncompliance, including fines and criminal penalties.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is a set of regulations that are part of the HIPAA law and specifically address the protection of the privacy of individuals’ health information. The Privacy Rule applies to covered entities (health plans, healthcare providers, and healthcare clearinghouses) and business associates. It sets national standards for how covered entities must handle the use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI).

The Privacy Rule includes several key provisions that covered entities must comply with, including:

  1. Use and Disclosure Restrictions: The Privacy Rule establishes restrictions on how covered entities can use and disclose PHI. Covered entities can only use or disclose PHI for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations unless the individual has given their written authorization or the use or disclosure is permitted or required by law.
  2. Individual Rights: The Privacy Rule gives individuals certain rights over their PHI, including the right to access, correct, and receive an accounting of disclosures of their PHI.
  3. Notice of Privacy Practices: Covered entities must provide individuals with a statement of privacy practices that describes how the covered entity will use and disclose PHI, and individuals’ rights concerning their PHI.
  4. Administrative Requirements: Covered entities must implement administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of PHI.
  5. Breach Notification: In case of a breach of unsecured PHI, covered entities must notify affected individuals, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and in some cases, the media.
  6. Penalties: Noncompliance with the Privacy Rule can result in fines and criminal penalties.

The Privacy Rule is an essential part of HIPAA, and it establishes standards for how covered entities must handle PHI and gives individuals certain rights over their PHI. Covered entities must comply with the Privacy Rule to protect the privacy of individual’s health information and avoid penalties for noncompliance.

HIPAA Security Rule

The HIPAA Security Rule is a set of regulations that are part of the HIPAA law, explicitly addressing the protection of electronically protected health information (ePHI). The Security Rule sets national standards for securing ePHI that all covered entities (health plans, healthcare providers, and healthcare clearinghouses) must comply with.

The Security Rule requires covered entities to implement a set of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI.

Common HIPAA Administrative Safeguards Under The HIPAA

HIPAA Administrative safeguards are a set of rules and procedures that covered entities (health plans, healthcare providers, and healthcare clearinghouses) must implement to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information (ePHI). The Administrative safeguards are designed to manage the administrative aspects of protecting ePHI.

The main elements of HIPAA Administrative safeguards are:

  • Risk Analysis: Conducting a risk analysis to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities to ePHI and determining the likelihood and potential impact of these threats.
  • Security Management Process: Developing and implementing a security management process to manage the ongoing security of ePHI.
  • Security Official: Appointing a security official to oversee the organization’s compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule.
  • Employee Training: Providing regular employee training on HIPAA and security policies and procedures.
  • Incident Response and Disaster Recovery: Developing and implementing incident response and disaster recovery plans to address security breaches and other security incidents.
  • Contingency plan: Developing and implementing a contingency plan that addresses data backup, disaster recovery, emergency mode operation plan, and testing and revision procedures.
  • Evaluating and adjusting: Regularly reviewing and updating the administrative safeguards to ensure that they continue to be effective in protecting ePHI against new threats and vulnerabilities.

These Administrative safeguards are an important part of the HIPAA Security Rule and are designed to ensure that covered entities have the proper policies and procedures in place to protect ePHI from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction.

Physical safeguards include:

  • Implementing facility access controls to limit physical access to ePHI
  • Securing workstations and electronic media that store ePHI

Technical safeguards include:

  • Implementing technical access controls to restrict access to ePHI
  • Implementing audit controls to track and monitor access to ePHI
  • Implementing integrity controls to ensure that ePHI is not altered or destroyed
  • Implementing transmission security measures to protect ePHI during transmission over networks

The Security Rule also requires covered entities to perform periodic risk analyses and review and update their security measures to protect against new threats and vulnerabilities. In addition, the Security Rule requires covered entities to report and investigate security breaches, and to notify affected individuals, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and, in some cases, the media.

Overall, the HIPAA Security Rule sets a national standard for protecting ePHI and gives covered entities a framework to create and implement the necessary safeguards to protect ePHI from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction.

What is the difference between HIPAA and HITRUST?

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a federal law that sets standards for protecting sensitive patient health information. HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance) is a framework that provides a comprehensive approach to managing sensitive healthcare information.

HITRUSTHIPAA
HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance) is a cybersecurity certification and accreditation program.HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a federal law passed in 1996 that sets standards for protecting sensitive patient health information.
HITRUST provides a framework for organizations to assess and manage their cybersecurity risk and compliance with various regulations.HIPAA sets national standards for safeguarding medical information, including requirements for patient consent and notice of privacy practices.
HITRUST certification is not mandatory, but it is widely recognized and adopted by healthcare organizations.HIPAA compliance is mandatory for all healthcare organizations that handle protected health information (PHI).
HITRUST certification is based on a self-assessment process and an on-site assessment conducted by a HITRUST-approved assessor.HIPAA compliance is enforced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through audits and fines for non-compliance.
Difference between HITRUST and HIPAA, explained, in tabular format

In technical terms, HIPAA focuses on specific technical and physical safeguards for protecting electronic protected health information (ePHI), such as access controls, audit controls, and integrity controls. HITRUST, on the other hand, is more comprehensive and includes not just the technical and physical safeguards required by HIPAA, but also additional information security and risk management requirements, such as incident response and disaster recovery planning. HITRUST also provides a certification program that organizations can use to demonstrate compliance with the framework.

Here are some key differences between HITRUST and HIPAA:

  1. Purpose: HIPAA is a federal law that was enacted in 1996 to protect the privacy and security of individuals’ health information. HITRUST, on the other hand, is a non-profit organization that provides a framework for managing and safeguarding sensitive information.
  2. Scope: HIPAA applies specifically to covered entities (health plans, healthcare providers, and healthcare clearinghouses) and their business associates. HITRUST, on the other hand, is intended for any organization that creates, accesses, stores or exchanges sensitive and/or regulated information.
  3. Standards: HIPAA includes specific rules and regulations for protecting electronic protected health information (ePHI), including the HIPAA Security Rule. HITRUST’s Common Security Framework (CSF) is a comprehensive, flexible, and efficient security framework that can be used by any organization and it is based on a variety of standards, guidelines and regulations, including ISO 27001, NIST SP 800-53, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA.
  4. Compliance and Certification: HIPAA requires covered entities to comply with its rules and regulations, and failure to do so can result in penalties. HITRUST, on the other hand, offers a certification process that organizations can use to demonstrate their compliance with the framework. HITRUST CSF certification is considered to be one of the most rigorous and comprehensive in the industry.

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