Explaining the Difference Between HIPAA and HITRUST

Some industries have specific standards that must be met regarding data security and privacy. For healthcare and its related industries, you have HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects the privacy of patient records and requires that organizations maintain them in a specific fashion.

To make this a bit easier is HITRUST, the Health Information Trust Alliance. How are these two intertwined and how do they make the privacy regulations in the United States easier to understand?

The primary difference between the two acronyms is that HIPAA is a set of regulations and mandates that must be followed, whereas HITRUST is an organization that helps other organizations stick to those standards.

In fact, HITRUST uses its own framework known as Common Security Framework (CSF) that helps businesses adhere to HIPAA. HITRUST also helps organizations achieve compliance with other guidelines and regulations, including PCI DSS, and NIST.

HIPAA Explained

HIPAA is legislation introduced in 1996 that established several requirements that must be met by healthcare organizations and their partners.

These requirements were further expanded by the HIPAA Omnibus Rule, allowing for the requirements introduced by HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act to be integrated into the regulations in a much easier fashion.

What Does HITRUST Do?

In short, HITRUST is a coalition that integrates the tenets of HIPAA into its own CSF. This makes adhering to the requirements of HIPAA more actionable and easier to pull off for organizations.

Requirements that are difficult to stick to are not likely to be followed, so this approach is beneficial to organizations that work with sensitive data governed by HIPAA.

How Do These Two Coexist?

The HITRUST CSF integrates HIPAA into its framework and certification process and gives healthcare organizations something specific to work towards.

Additionally, it also takes what HIPAA requires and integrates it with other compliances and frameworks. It could be argued that HITRUST makes this process more complex and more difficult to adhere to in a sense, but what is inarguable is that it is nothing if not thorough.

At the end of the day, HIPAA provides the regulations and framework that healthcare organizations, including providers and affiliates, must adhere to, whereas HITECH gives them the tools and resources needed to make it possible. Thus, understanding both is key to keeping any successful organization in these industries running.

How Can You Keep Your Business Compliant?

If you are having trouble keeping your business compliant with these regulations, or you don’t know where to start, DataNet Pacific can help.

We know the ins and outs of these regulations and can help you get situated to prevent these compliances from becoming problems for your business. To learn more, reach out to us at 808-529-5678.