The two leading standards development associations – the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) and the Health Information Trust Alliance HITRUST – have announced they are to collaborate and will be streamlining their certification and accreditation programs for healthcare industry stakeholders.
The standards development organizations have a similar vision and want to reduce the complexity of information protection and compliance. By bringing their respective accreditation and certification programs closer together and by eliminating redundant assessments, it will be possible to reduce complexity and eliminate unnecessary compliance costs.
As HITRUST CEO Daniel Nutkis recently explained, “The healthcare industry is plagued by well-meaning yet inefficient processes, standards and protocols.” Improving efficiencies naturally leads to a reduction in costs.
The collaboration agreement will see EHNAC drop its own HIPAA-related privacy and security criteria in favour of the provisions and controls of the HITRUST CSF. However, while the assessment processes are being streamlined, EHNAC will still retain the stakeholder-specific benefits of its programs. EHNAC will serve as an assessor for HITRUST and will become the only organization that can provide EHNAC accreditation as well as HITRUST CSF certification.
The move will not affect organizations that have already been accredited by EHNAC, but any organizations that have already achieved HITRUST CSF certification will find it much easier and more straightforward to become accredited under EHNAC’s range of stakeholder-specific accreditation programs. Organisations will now be able to leverage the CSF assessments when participating in the EHNAC accreditation programs.
“It is an incredible win for the industry that our organizations partner together to, most importantly, ensure the security and compliance of the healthcare industry, but to also do so in a way that offers more leadership and efficiency, and less complexity, redundancy and costs,” said executive director of EHNAC, Lee Barrett.
It is an important step for these two accreditation and certification organizations to align their programs more closely. It is hoped than other standards development organizations will also streamline their accreditation and certification programs. The closer the programs become, the better it will be for the healthcare industry.