It's the Final Countdown!
Great News! You're just one SRA away from 2021!
2020 is almost over, and what a relief that is! While we've learned a great deal this year, we've also had to adapt to the ongoing challenges thrown at us. Along the way, important compliance tasks, such as completing your annual Security Risk Analysis (SRA), may have been pushed to the side. Now is the time to switch gears and ensure compliance is front and center for the rest of the year.
Identifying and Addressing Risk
The HIPAA Security rule applies to all ePHI created, received, maintained, or transmitted by or for covered entities such as healthcare organizations and their business associates. This means that HIPAA regulations require your organization to implement reasonable and appropriate safeguards to protect and guard against threats to the security or integrity of the ePHI held by your organization. It also requires that your organization "conduct[s] an accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability" of ePHI under its control.
The purpose of an SRA is to identify protected health information (PHI) and assess any threats or vulnerabilities to that PHI. Once you've assessed any threats and vulnerabilities and determined the likelihood of the threat occurring, you can determine if your current policies and procedures are sufficient. If you identify any deficiencies in your current program, an action plan should be created. An action plan helps an organization detail any deficiencies in its security measures and address them by developing or updating policies and procedures meant to mitigate the risks. By doing so, an organization can reduce possible risks to ePHI to a reasonable and appropriate level.
Risk management is an ongoing, dynamic process. As well as conducting a risk assessment, HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to have a continuous risk analysis process in place. This ongoing process ensures that a healthcare organization can regularly detect security incidents, identify new threats, and implement policies and procedures to address any risks as soon as they emerge. Not only does completing an SRA maintain your compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule Risk Analysis requirement, but it also helps strengthen your entire compliance program. While the Security Rule does not specify how frequently an organization should conduct an SRA, healthcare organizations should, at a minimum, strive for an annual review. Operational or environmental changes, such as implementing new technology or business operation plans, may warrant more frequent assessments.
Completing Your SRA
We know completing an SRA each year can seem like a daunting task, but Healthcare Compliance Pros is here to help. Our SRA tool is designed to help identify areas that should be addressed and corrected and where policies and procedures may be missing. Once you have completed your SRA and submitted it to HCP, one of our HIPAA Professionals will complete a comprehensive review of your SRA, discuss our findings with you during an SRA review meeting, and help create an annual action plan tailored to the areas in which we find your organization most vulnerable.
Plus, our SRA tool saves you time by saving your responses from year to year. That way, when completing subsequent SRAs, you are able to update the areas where changes were made, deficiencies were addressed, and corrections applied, but you don't have to start from scratch. Any improvements you make to your security management processes are quantifiable year by year, and each SRA demonstrates the progress made annually toward becoming more compliant in each area as you work on action plan items over time.
The deadline to submit your SRA and have it reviewed by one of our certified compliance specialists is quickly approaching. Submit your SRA as soon as possible to ensure it is reviewed prior to the end of the year.