Any organization that’s planning to execute a contact tracing program in the United States should choose a HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF)-certified solution. This helps ensure the appropriate security and regulatory protocols are addressed as well as reduces the risks associated with collecting and managing patient data or electronic patient health information (ePHI).
What is HITRUST CSF certification?
Healthcare and IT professionals who developed a security framework to manage HIPAA security requirements founded HITRUST, which stands for the Health Information Trust Alliance. HITRUST’s goal is to meet HIPAA security rule requirements efficiently.
Why do contact tracing operations need a HITRUST CSF-certified solution?
Communications solutions enable customers and patients to connect with organizations via their mode of choice—messaging, video, phone, SMS, and contact center technologies. There are six benefits to implementing a HITRUST CSF-certified communications solution for your contact tracing operations.
1. Protection from a comprehensive security framework
One of the benefits of a HITRUST CSF-certified communications system is that HITRUST is a comprehensive security framework that integrates and harmonizes requirements from various standards—ISO, HIPAA, PCI, and NIST—and then tailors them to the healthcare industry (based on system, organizational, and regulatory risk factors).
Because the HITRUST framework is so comprehensive, you don’t have to worry about meeting other requirements. For example, if you deployed a communications system that was NIST-certified, but it didn’t live up to the compliance standards set by HIPAA, should a HIPAA audit or—even worse—a data breach take place, you’d be forced to confront massive penalties due to violation of regulations. The HITRUST CSF certification, on the other hand, gives you peace of mind because it guarantees your protection in light of the many security.
2. Cost and time savings
By its very nature, HITRUST and its comprehensive security framework provide cost and time savings. Achieving these high standards means you’re better prepared for close inspections in the future. For example, your audit, which can include an evaluation of your Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) services, will be significantly smoother.
The HITRUST framework provides a consolidated control view, so you have greater visibility into how controls overlap among various regulations. When audit time comes around, you’ll show how you’re simultaneously meeting many regulatory obligations. Only a sole assessment is required, and from there, several reports will be produced that cover pertinent legislative and/or regulatory frameworks.
3. Provable compliance
HIPAA regulations, for example, don’t provide precise compliance definitions and thus make it difficult to determine whether or not you’re following the rules. Also, nothing officially exists that effectively tests whether you’re complying with HIPAA. Due to this lack of guidance, multiple vendors created their own unique variations of testing methods and certifications. Unfortunately, this simply muddled the environment for HIPAA-covered entities.
Consider the respectful treatment given to a HIPAA-Covered Entity client by a vendor as their Business Associate. Contrast that with those companies identifying as “HIPAA-compliant,” an unsubstantiated claim.
Business Associates are liable if a data breach occurs that compromises ePHI; in fact, their signature on a document is required certifying their agreement to protect data (in the event of a violation, termination is possible). Alternately, vendors who merely claim HIPAA compliance aren’t bound by a strict agreement or any kind of penalties if ePHI is breached.
Vendors aiming to communicate their alignment with HIPAA regulations seek HITRUST certification to prove their commitment. Vendors use HITRUST certification to prove that they’ve gone the extra mile to strengthen the protection of ePHI in their environment on behalf of their HIPAA-covered-entity clients.
4. Adjustable to meet your requirements
Where does the value lie in a vendor achieving HITRUST CSF certification? As a HIPAA-covered entity organization, you receive the corresponding security value and validation.
The HITRUST framework scales controls according to the type, size, and complexity of an organization. A HITRUST CSF-certified vendor can adjust various controls to meet your needs, rather than attempt to adapt to rules established by someone else.
5. An ever-evolving approach
The HITRUST framework requirements and scope renew every year to stay current with regulations and ensure up-to-date protection against security threats.
Several years ago, HITRUST framework control requirements and cyberthreat intelligence aligned as a way to ensure controls remain effective despite the rapid evolution of potential threats. That’s an essential protective measure that helps ward off the many different types of cyberattacks that, if unleashed, could threaten to damage your organization’s reputation in addition to wasting time and money.
6. Gaining credibility with stakeholders
Perhaps the biggest benefit of deploying a HITRUST CSF-certified communications system is that the third-party validation makes the organization appear trustworthy in the eyes of the communities they serve. Utilizing a HITRUST CSF-certified solution demonstrates that the very prepared organization went the extra mile to protect patients’ privacy and data.
Contact tracing with confidence
RingCentral’s HITRUST CSF-certified communications solution offers a number of benefits to organizations, including enabling easy communications without compromising security or risking the exposure of confidential data. Learn more about RingCentral for Contact Tracing now.
Originally published Jun 11, 2020, updated Aug 03, 2021