4 Ways Assessors Make Your HIPAA SRA Painless



Every healthcare covered entity must complete their HIPAA Security Risk Assessment (SRA) by December 31st – and time is quickly running out.

But many private practices and healthcare organizations are not sufficiently prepared to complete their SRA alone. The assessment is lengthy and complex, and most organizations simply do not have the technology or the in-house expertise necessary to navigate such complicated security risk questions and regulations.

This is why many healthcare organizations rely on assessors to guide them through the SRA process.

What Is a Healthcare Compliance Assessor?

Compliance assessors are external experts that work as a partner to your organization to provide detailed, targeted support to help you complete an SRA. They are certified by an expert industry body – in this case, HITRUST, and they apply their broad subject matter expertise to help you with the specific areas of an SRA that your organization finds challenging.

This might involve:

  • Helping you understand exactly what is required for your specific organization to complete an SRA
  • Providing support with the necessary documentation
  • Translating specific questions into terms that make sense to your organization and formulating clear answers
  • Giving you step-by-step guidance through the process

4 Ways Assessors Help Complete Your HIPAA SRA

1. Simplify the Process

The HIPAA SRA includes 156 questions, each with its own specific context. Many organizations struggle to understand how each question relates to their practice, or into what level of detail their comments and risk remediation plans should go.

Furthermore, the SRA requires access to a wide range of information – from dynamically scanned electronic data to policies and procedures documentation.

As a result, many organizations find the process highly complex and intimidating – especially if they have not completed an assessment before. They do not have a detailed understanding of HIPAA regulations, and the government-provided SRA assessment tool is dense and complicated.

Assessors simplify the process in a number of ways, including:

  • Helping you understand and answer the assessment questions using appropriate language and details
  • Ensuring you follow the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) protocol throughout the process
  • Sourcing the relevant data from even outdated systems
  • Guiding you through the regulatory reporting process to ensure the correct documentation is filed
  • Not only does this makes the process feel more manageable – it also helps your team feel more confident when faced with next year’s assessment.

2. Save Time and Resources

Managing your security protocols is a full-time job, and many organizations simply cannot afford to keep a specialist in-house. But that means you are left scrambling to conduct an SRA each year, taking precious resources away from other important tasks – and ultimately not making efficient use of time.

Worse still, the problem is never actually resolved. You face the same resource shortage each year, because completing a single SRA unassisted is not enough to develop the confidence or competence necessary to accelerate the process.

While hiring an assessor might appear to be an extra cost, it actually saves you money in the longer term. Not only do they accelerate the process this year; they provide your team with detailed explanations and guidance through the SRA questions so that they understand the process and what is required. This equips your team to complete the assessment without assistance in future years, saving money in the long run.

3. Avoid Errors

Tasking non-experts to complete your SRA leads to undetected errors. The team or individual may be confident they have understood the questions and met the assessment requirements, but they could have used the wrong language, misunderstood the context of the question, or simply not accounted for important risk factors.

Assessors will catch errors of this kind and educate your team so that they do not make the same mistake in the future. They will ensure you have correctly calculated risk assignment and prioritization, as well as accounted for everything in their remediation tracking and history.

4. Make Future Assessments Easier

The SRA process is the same each year, which means assessors can help you create protocols to make future assessments smoother. They empower your teams to complete your next SRA solo, providing detailed explanations, feedback and guidance that remain relevant during future assessments.

The right compliance software consolidates this benefit. With HIPAA One® software, your SRA answers are stored within the system – so you can simply import and update them each year, rather than starting from scratch. A single assessment completed with the aid of an assessor provides future teams with a trusted baseline that saves your organization time, effort, and money.

Pair HIPAA One® with a Compliance Assessor to Complete Your SRA

Finding the right certified compliance assessor can be its own challenge. Fortunately, we connect every HIPAA One® user with their own assessors to help you navigate the software and ensure you complete a flawless assessment before the December 31st deadline.