Health Information Management

Back to basics: Dig deep when performing a risk analysis

HIM-HIPAA Insider, August 25, 2014

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To fully understand where your organization's risks lie, you not only need to have a firm grasp on risk analysis and assessment processes, you need to define these processes as well. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the HIPAA Omnibus Rule has brought new light to the risk management process by reinforcing the provisions of the HIPAA Security Rule. This is why it is important to get back to basics and pinpoint what risk analysis, assessment, and management truly mean so you can adequately identify current risks and protect your organization from potential breaches.
"What is assessment and what does analysis mean?" asks Rick Ensenbach, CISSP-ISSMP, CISA, CISM, HITRUST, manager at Wipfli, LLP, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and a Briefings on HIPAA editorial advisory board member. "An analysis is more in-depth versus assessment, which might be high level. And of course we know risk management is the overall program—that's what analysis and assessment fall under."
To clarify the terms, Tom Walsh, CISSP, principal at Tom Walsh Consulting, LLC, in Overland Park, Kansas, encourages organizations to look up analysis and assessment in the dictionary, at which point it should be evident that an analysis is more thorough.
Chris Apgar, CISSP, president of Apgar & Associates, LLC, in Portland, Oregon, says that when current or prospective clients ask him for help with a risk analysis, each client often has a slightly different definition of the term, says Apgar. Some use it to refer to a compliance audit, a gap analysis, or a risk assessment, but a risk analysis is a separate and distinct process. "The term is somewhat confused out there," he says.
A risk assessment is part of an overall risk management program and should be an ongoing process. A risk analysis should be conducted on at similar times depending on federal and state requirements, Apgar says.
Continue reading "Back to basics: Dig deep when performing a risk analysis" on the HCPro website. Subscribers to Briefings on HIPAA have free access to this article in the August issue.


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