Get Ahead of Compliance with HITRUST: What It Is and Why It Matters

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Security & Compliance
September 29th, 2023

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HITRUST certification, which stands for Health Information Trust Alliance, is a prestigious program in the realm of IT security and compliance. It was established to promote best practices for safeguarding health data. The certification program aids organizations in protecting sensitive health information, maintaining regulatory compliance, and mitigating cyber risks. Achieving HITRUST certification provides access to advanced security and compliance controls vital for data protection.

This certification carries significant importance as it enhances data security, demonstrates third-party accreditation to stakeholders, and ensures compliance with complex regulations, thereby safeguarding patient privacy and trust. HITRUST certification also bolsters business continuity and resilience in the face of data breaches or cyberattacks.

HITRUST, short for Healthcare Information Trust Alliance, sets standards and best practices for healthcare-related organizations and collaborates with regulators and security experts to ensure compliance with IT security and compliance guidelines. It provides independent validation of an organization’s adherence to these standards, fostering trust among various stakeholders.

Obtaining HITRUST certification offers multiple advantages, including enhanced security, customer and partner confidence, regulatory compliance, risk reduction, improved efficiency, reduced audit costs, and increased marketability of products and services. It certifies the highest level of cybersecurity assurance and compliance, offering peace of mind.

The certification process involves several steps, beginning with the HITRUST CSF Self-Assessment, a comprehensive questionnaire to identify security process gaps. A third-party assessor reviews the assessment, and organizations must then complete various activities, including annual reviews, periodic assessments, and remediation tasks. They must adhere to HITRUST guidelines, focusing on trustworthiness and ethical behavior. Regular audits and assessments are required to maintain certification.

HITRUST certification covers various IT security and compliance areas such as privacy, data protection, access control, risk management, security training, authentication, encryption, and more. Organizations must provide evidence of addressing these areas in line with HITRUST standards.

In conclusion, HITRUST certification is a rigorous process that ensures organizations adhere to industry best practices in IT security and compliance. It offers numerous benefits, including enhanced security, regulatory compliance, and increased stakeholder confidence. To maintain certification, organizations must undergo regular audits and assessments and stay updated with HITRUST standards.

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What is HITRUST Certification?

HITRUST certification is a highly-regarded IT security and compliance certification program. HITRUST stands for Health Information Trust Alliance, and is an organization created to promote best practices in protecting health data. The HITRUST certification program is designed to help organizations protect sensitive health information, maintain regulatory compliance, and reduce cyber risks. By achieving HITRUST certification, organizations gain access to the advanced security and compliance controls that are necessary to safeguard data.

Why Does HITRUST Certification Matter?

HITRUST certification can provide numerous benefits to organizations, including improved data security and the ability to demonstrate third-party accreditation to customers and partners. This certification helps organizations meet the requirements of complex regulations, which are important to protect patient privacy and maintain the trust of stakeholders. HITRUST certification also helps businesses maintain business continuity and recover quickly from a data breach or cyber-attack.

Definition of HITRUST

HITRUST is the acronym for Healthcare Information Trust Alliance. It is a certifying body that provides assurance and assurance-related services to help organizations protect the safety and privacy of their patient health information. HITRUST establishes standards and best practices for organizations in all industries related to healthcare, and it works with various regulators and security practitioners to ensure organizations are meeting applicable IT security and compliance guidelines.

The certification process provides independent validation of an organization’s compliance with the industry standards set by HITRUST, helping them secure confidential information and protect against potential threats. HITRUST certification is focused on providing organizations with the tools and processes they need to manage their security risks and safeguard their data. The certification is trusted by many different stakeholders from government agencies to insurers.

Benefits Of HITRUST Certification

Organizations that pursue and attain a HITRUST certification can experience numerous benefits, such as:

  • Improved security through better risk management
  • Increased confidence among customers and partners
  • Enhanced compliance with regulations and standards
  • Reduced risk of data loss or abuse
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Reduced audit costs
  • Increased marketability of products and services

Obtaining a HITRUST certification can give organizations peace of mind knowing that they have attained the highest level of cybersecurity assurance and compliance.

What Does HITRUST Certification Involve?

Attaining a HITRUST certification is a multi-step process, which begins with completing the HITRUST CSF Self-Assessment. This is an extensive questionnaire that covers all areas of the organization’s information security program and is designed to identify gaps in security processes. After completion of the self-assessment, organizations must have a third-party assessor review their answers and provide an opinion as to whether the organization is in compliance with HITRUST requirements.

After passing the initial self-assessment, organizations are then required to successfully complete a number of other activities. These activities include annual reviews, periodic assessments, and remediation activities as needed. Organizations must also adhere to the rigorous guidelines set forth by HITRUST which includes principles of trustworthiness and ethical behavior.

Finally, organizations must maintain documentation of their security program and must submit to regular audits and assessments to ensure their continued compliance with HITRUST standards. Organizations must also demonstrate that they are continuously improving their security posture by implementing new processes and procedures as appropriate.

Adherence to Standards

Organizations seeking a HITRUST certification must adhere to the standards set by the assessment framework. These standards refer to the industry’s best practices in information security, privacy, and data protection.

HITRUST assesses organizations using a variety of measures such as risk assessments, audits, gap analyses, testing, and more. Organizations must take all of these steps to ensure that proper security and compliance protocols are in place.

Organizations must maintain their standards in order to stay certified by HITRUST. This means that they must continually review their security systems, assess risks, and make sure that their protocols and controls are up-to-date. HITRUST also routinely conducts compliance audits to ensure that standards are being kept.

Areas Covered by HITRUST

HITRUST certification covers a wide range of areas related to IT security and compliance. These areas can include but are not limited to: privacy and data protection, access control, risk management and assessment, security awareness training, authentication and authorization, encryption, logging and monitoring, vulnerability scanning, system hardening, incident response, and disaster recovery.

Organizations who obtain a HITRUST certification must provide proof that all of these areas have been addressed and are up to the standards set by HITRUST. This means that a comprehensive understanding of security best practices must be instilled throughout an organization in order for them to attain a HITRUST certification.

By obtaining a HITRUST certification, organizations are ensuring that their IT infrastructure is secure and compliant with HITRUST guidelines. This provides the necessary peace of mind that their IT environment meets the necessary levels of security to keep their critical systems and sensitive data safe from potential threats.

Audits & Assessments

Organizations must undergo regular audits and assessments to maintain their HITRUST certification. Typically, the assessments are more detailed than the audits and provide a comprehensive review of an organization’s security controls and processes.

Assessments include:

  • Identification of security gaps or deficiencies
  • Evaluation of existing security controls
  • Assessment of risks and vulnerabilities
  • Review of related policies, procedures, and governance

Audits, on the other hand, are less comprehensive and typically involve a review of an organization’s security controls at a high-level. Audits are conducted annually or as required by HITRUST certification.

Organizations must also follow any changes or updates to HITRUST standards and regulations, which also require additional assessments. Organizations should be prepared for these additional assessments and understand the importance of staying current with HITRUST standards.

Common Questions & Answers

When it comes to HITRUST certification, there are many common questions that come up regarding who can obtain certification and who is in charge of administering the certifications.

Organizations across industries such as healthcare, finance, and retail are all eligible for HITRUST certification. The HITRUST Certification Commission is an independent body responsible for administrating HITRUST certifications. They oversee the process throughout the entire certification journey and are the ones responsible for approving or rejecting a HITRUST application.

The Commission is also responsible for setting and enforcing the standards that organizations must abide by in order to maintain their HITRUST certification. These standards are important to ensure that organizations are doing their due diligence in protecting the safety and security of data and resources.

Examples of HITRUST Certification

There are many notable organizations that have obtained HITRUST certification, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, DaVita Healthcare Partners, and The Walt Disney Company. Obtaining HITRUST certification has helped these companies to meet their regulatory compliance obligations related to healthcare data security and privacy, demonstrate their commitment to protecting and securing sensitive information, and have greater trust amongst customers.

For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was able to obtain a HITRUST certification in 2020. This allowed them to ensure that they had achieved the highest level of IT security and compliance. As a result, they were able to streamline their operations, minimize risk and optimize their processes.

The Walt Disney Company also obtained HITRUST certification in 2018. This allowed them to provide their customers with greater confidence that all of their data was protected and secure. As a result, Disney was able to generate more trust among their customer base and increase customer loyalty.

DaVita Healthcare Partners is another organization that has obtained HITRUST certification. DaVita is a Fortune 500 company that provides dialysis services and clinics. By obtaining HITRUST certification, DaVita was able to improve the protection of patient privacy and data security.

These are just a few examples of organizations that have obtained HITRUST certification and the benefits that they have experienced from this process. There are many other organizations that have also obtained this certification and been able to reap the benefits.

Resources on HITRUST Certification

For those interested in obtaining a HITRUST certification, there are many resources available that can help you get started. From informational materials to case studies and webinars, the HITRUST website provides users with access to a wealth of information.

On the website, you can find helpful whitepapers that provide an in-depth overview of HITRUST certification and how it can benefit your organization. Additionally, various case studies illustrate the impact that HITRUST certifications have had on similar organizations.

The website also provides access to helpful webinars that can help you better understand the certification process and how it can improve your organization’s security posture. You can register for free webinars hosted by experts in the field who provide insights into critical topics such as risk assessments, compliance requirements, and more.


HITRUST certification is an important step for organizations that are committed to meeting the highest standards of IT security and compliance. With a HITRUST certification, organizations can benefit from improved security, reduced risk, and improved customer trust, all while being able to demonstrate their commitment to excellence. The process of obtaining a HITRUST certification involves a series of steps and audits, but the potential rewards of certification are worth the effort. For organizations looking to remain ahead of the curve in terms of IT security and compliance, attaining a HITRUST certification should be considered.

Call to Action

If you are interested in learning more about gaining HITRUST certification, then please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of experts is here to help you navigate the process and ensure that your organization can make the most of its HITRUST certification.

We understand that such a certification may seem daunting at first, but with our help and guidance, the entire process can be made easier and faster. So don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to learn more about getting certified and how it can benefit your organization.

HITRUST Certification FAQ

HITRUST certification is a globally recognized certification that verifies an organization’s commitment to IT security, privacy and compliance. It provides assurance that an organization has implemented processes and controls to protect its data and reduce the risk of data breaches.

HITRUST stands for Health Information Trust Alliance.

The benefits of attaining HITRUST certification include better protection for sensitive health information, reduced risk of data breaches, improved customer privacy and data security, and increased customer trust and loyalty.

Organizations can obtain HITRUST certification by following a specific set of steps that involve undergoing an assessment, implementing processes and controls to meet the necessary standards, submitting documentation for review, and completing an audit.

HITRUST certification covers a range of areas related to IT security and compliance, including data protection, privacy, security governance, risk management, identity access, audit and compliance, system configuration, and incident management.

HITRUST certification can be attained by any type of organization, no matter its size or type.

Some examples of organizations with HITRUST certification include Microsoft, Humana, Siemens Healthineers, Premera Blue Cross, Electronic Arts, Cisco Systems, Merck & Co., and more.