Do You Need a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool?

HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool

For many organizations, the end of the year is a time to complete those annually required tasks. One of those tasks for medical practices and the vendors who serve them is a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment (SRA).

Today, we will examine what to look for in a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment tool and why the SRA is essential.

The Basics of HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tools

Any discussion of SRA Risk Assessment tools should begin with the Security Risk Assessment itself. The HIPAA Security Risk Assessment is the most foundational requirement of HIPAA, as the government defines it. It comprises a series of five or six required audits designed to give a snapshot of an organization’s current effectiveness in protecting the privacy and security of patients’ protected health information (PHI).

These audits include:

  • Asset and Device Audit
  • IT Risk Analysis Questionnaire
  • Physical Site Audit
  • Security Standards Audit
  • Privacy Standards Audit  (Not required for Business Associates who do not create PHI but simply possess or process it).
  • HITECH Subtitle D Privacy Audit 

HIPAA Rules and Regulations do not specify how often a Security Risk Assessment must be completed, but the widely accepted best practice is to conduct an SRA annually. Despite this, failing to complete an SRA annually is one of the most common HIPAA violations reported by HIPAA auditors from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR). 

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We can help you complete your SRA with ease, while helping with all other HIPAA requirements!

Where to Find a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool

Because the HIPAA Security Risk Assessment is vital to organizational compliance, many leaders look for a method of making this annual process easy and effective. Some of the most common resources are provided by HHS OCR at no charge. 

The agency posts a document that provides guidance on the risk assessment process and provides an OCR Security Risk Assessment tool. The tool is available as a desktop application or a Microsoft Excel workbook to help small and mid-sized organizations. The OCR Security Risk Assessment tool asks a series of questions and then provides users with an evaluation of the threat level posed by their current security and privacy functions. 

The free options may not be adequate for larger organizations or those with more complex needs. Sometimes it may require an onsite Security Risk Analysis costing as much as $15,000. 

What Comes After Using a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool

We have already mentioned how important it is to remember that HIPAA Security Risk Assessments are not a one time activity. You must conduct an SRA annually, or any time there has been a substantive change in how your organization addresses PHI privacy or security. 

It’s also essential to understand that the SRA is one step in an annual process. The purpose of the SRA is to identify potential gaps in how your organization handles the privacy and security of PHI. Any gaps you find will need to be remediated. Your policies and procedures must be altered to reflect these remediation actions. Employees will also need to be trained to follow the new guidelines.

Is There a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool That Makes Compliance Simple?

If you’re tired of struggling to jump through all of the hoops of HIPAA or want to be sure you’re actually HIPAA compliant, we have the solution. For almost 20 years, Compliancy Group has simplified HIPAA compliance for small and mid-sized medical practices and the business associates that serve them.

Our web-based solution, “The Guard,” simplifies the process of HIPAA compliance in two ways. First, we automate the process by reducing the confusing requirements of HIPAA into a series of easy-to-understand “Yes” and “No” questions. 

At the same time, we pair you with a personal Compliance Coach who will show you how to use The Guard to give you the confidence to know your organization is fully HIPAA compliant. Within The Guard, you’ll have audit-tested policies and procedures, annual training employee, a library of business associate agreements, and breach notification tools. All of this is combined with reporting and tracking, allowing you to prove that your organization is HIPAA compliant. 

That’s the part many people miss when it comes to HIPAA compliance. Even if you’ve done everything the law requires, you will fail a HIPAA audit if you can’t prove what you’ve done.

Contact us today to find out how our one-tool solution can simplify your compliance.

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