Should a CPA Firm Guide Your HITRUST CSF Assessment?

As you plan for your organization’s next HITRUST CSF Assessment®, you may wonder if it’s worth it to seek outside assistance from a trusted CPA firm. Whether your company is new, thus new to regulatory assessment procedures, or you simply want expert guidance during the assessment and certification process, the benefits can be substantial for your IT team and your organization.

The Importance of HITRUST for Healthcare Organizations and Beyond

HITRUST® is made up of a board of directors and members who are leaders in business, information security, technology, and healthcare industries. This organization was formed upon the belief that information security efforts are critical to the healthcare industry’s commitment to providing quality care for patients.

This is important because collecting, storing, and sharing electronic medical records are common practices that carry substantial risks. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the rate of data breaches in the health care field has also increased.

“Between 2009 and 2018 there have been 2,546 healthcare data breaches involving more than 500 records. Those breaches have resulted in the theft/exposure of 189,945,874 healthcare records. That equates to more than 59% of the population of the United States. Healthcare data breaches are now being reported at a rate of more than one per day.” – the HIPAA Journal.

Since then, the HITRUST has expanded its reach. It now offers an integrated approach that is applicable to businesses operating in a wide range of industries. HITRUST ensures that all of its programs and tools are aligned, maintained, and comprehensive in supporting information risk management and compliance objectives.

In all professional fields, we are currently witnessing a rise in data breaches, despite increased awareness about the ethical and legal requirements for protecting sensitive information. And breaches have also risen despite the increasingly stiff fines, penalties, and legal repercussions imposed by state, national, and international governing bodies. These large-scale threats for companies and third-party stakeholders underline the importance of meeting all guidelines, regulations, rules, and laws regarding the handling of sensitive data that flows through an organization’s system.

Related article: How the HITRUST CSF is Expanding Beyond the Healthcare Industry.

How HITRUST CSF Supports Organizations

The HITRUST CSF® was developed by business leaders in healthcare, technology, and information security industries. This framework was designed to leave no stone unturned when it comes to information security compliance. The HITRUST CSF is a comprehensive and certifiable security and privacy framework, which means that adherence to all the rigors involved will pay off. Certification earned through maintaining compliance with the most up-to-date regulations is held in high esteem among third-party stakeholders and clients.

The HITRUST CSF is the most widely adopted and recognized security framework. Yet, compliance also demands significant energy, time, resources, and oversight. It is essential that your executive team is ready to provide you with the budget and human resources you need to peer deeply into your information security and determine its compliance. This is why organizations are increasingly choosing to rely on outside expertise.

The HITRUST CSF offers a clear portrait of an organization’s current compliance. This is possible through 19 comprehensive controls that offer in-depth insight into your system’s data protection status, as well as three graduating levels of implementation.

Related article: What You Should Know About the New HITRUST CSF v9.3: Effective January 1, 2020.

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Assistance with HITRUST CSF Assessments

Taking on this process, there are three situations in which a CPA firm could provide valuable assistance:

  1. Your organization is still relatively small and has limited resources to allocate to a HITRUST CSF Assessment. When you weigh the potential costs of hiring an outside CPA professional with trying to take on a large project, with limited experience, you may find the tables tip toward hiring an outside consultant for your first HITRUST CSF Assessment.
  2. You and your IT team already have a full workload and lack significant experience with HITRUST CSF Assessments. While learning the process is important, if you cannot afford to spend a considerable amount of time pouring over the HITRUST CSF controls and the levels of implementation, your organization’s resources are better spent with an outside CPA firm. Consider drawing up an agreement with your chosen CPA firm to work together and get familiar with the process so you can eventually lead your team on your own.
  3. Your organization has recently undergone data breaches, and your company leaders want to ensure optimal information security coverage and HITRUST CSF Certification. A CPA can help ensure that you have covered every possible regulation. This will help you, your IT team, and executive board to build confidence and recover from a costly data breach or accidental omission.

The advantages for you and your organization include peace of mind that the organization is in full compliance and that your third-party stakeholders will continue to hold your organization in high regard.

Take a look at our HITRUST Glossary for extra clarity.

Rely on a CPA Firm to Avoid HITRUST CSF Assessment Pitfalls

CPA professionals at I.S. Partners, LLC. look forward to guiding your organization through the HITRUST CSF Assessment process. Call I.S. Partners at 215-675-1400, or request a free quote, to learn about the additional benefits that come with having a CPA firm perform your HITRUST CSF Assessment.

This blog was originally published on September 27, 2016 and has since been modified and updated to reflect the most accurate information.

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