Security risk assessment in a healthcare organization helps secure electronic protected health information (ePHI) from various types of threats. Every health facility should conduct a security risk analysis periodically to ensure that data won’t be lost or corrupted due to natural, human, or environmental threats. Here’s a brief description of the purpose of risk assessment and the steps to conduct it successfully.

What Is the Purpose of Security Risk Assessment?

You should do a thorough analysis of your health information in order to:

  1. Meet the requirements of security rules set by HIPAA. Health organizations need to conduct a detailed and accurate assessment of potential risks to the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of ePHI.
  2. Help healthcare providers evaluate the risk to ePHI and take sufficient measures to minimize them.
  3. Qualify for Medicare EHR incentives after the risk assessment and take steps to rectify all security deficiencies.
  4. Provide information for the planning and implementation of a robust health data security framework.

What Is the Security Risk Assessment Process?

Follow this four-step approach when conducting your risk assessment.

  1. Identification

Identify the mission and objectives of your healthcare organization. All vital documents that reveal business objectives, operational guidelines, staff regulations, financial goals, and constraints must be discovered during this phase. Gather all documentation that pertains to processes, people, and technology. The person who is conducting the risk assessment must meet with all data owners to understand all the workflows and the information lifecycle. This phase sets the groundwork for the rest of the assessment so it must not be done thoroughly.

  1. Assessment

In this phase, your analyst quantifies and analyzes all the information gathered using one or more risk assessment frameworks. Some of the frameworks used include those provided by:

  • Information Systems Audit & Control Association (ISACA)
  • National Institute of Standards and Tech (NIST)
  • International Standards Organization (ISO)

During this phase, the information gathered is mapped against control objectives within a specific framework. Then, the state of your organization’s security compliance is quantified.

  1. Recommendation

During this phase, the weaknesses identified in the assessment phase are aligned with the objectives identified in the first phase. Your analyst also creates a draft of recommendations to correct the security lapses identified. The recommendations are sorted into three categories:

  • immediate (achievable within 2 months)
  • mid-term (achievable in 6 months)
  • long term (achievable with 1 year or longer)

Longer-term recommendations that require the purchase of new technologies need further assessment by relevant stakeholders.

  1. Review

Allow all heads of units and teams to review the draft recommendations. Ensure that they’re in line with the business and operational objectives of the facility. For the new security initiatives to be effectively utilized, they must be correctly aligned with the goals of the practice. They must also improve compliance with all regulatory bodies that monitor the storage, usage, and transmission of sensitive healthcare data.

Do You Need Professional Risk Assessment Advice?

Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation on data security risk assessment for your healthcare organization. We can help you plan and implement an effective risk assessment that helps you build a secure, efficient, and compliant health information system.