Pay attention to Security Risk Analysis in Meaningful Use Attestation

As is well known, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been conducting pre and post payment audits of healthcare provider organizations attesting to Meaningful Use (MU).  Our experience tells us that providers do not always exercise the necessary due diligence in meeting Stage I MU Core Objective #14 (Eligible Hospitals) and #15 (Eligible Professionals). In our view and as supported by ONC’s 10 Step Plan for Meeting Privacy and Security Portions of Meaningful Use, the MU Security Risk Analysis needs to go well beyond assessing just the technical controls of a EHR system. We believe that the risk analysis should cover the people and process aspects of EHR operations as well as how the EHR interfaces with other systems, organizations, people or processes.

As noted in a previous post, College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), a professional organization for chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders seemed to hold the view that the MU Security Risks Analysis scope should be limited. While we do not have a complete insight into CHIME’s viewpoint, we believe that providers need some work to do if they are to meet the requirements effectively. A robust security risks analysis is in any case the right thing to do every time there is a change in the Health IT environment … and implementing a EHR should qualify as a major change in that regard. It is also a mandatory compliance obligation under the HIPAA Security Rule.

So, why not do the “right thing”? We highly recommend that providers avoid “checkbox compliance” tendencies when it comes to meeting MU Core Objective #14/15.


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Kamal Govindaswamy

Posted on

May 31, 2013