The Difference Between HIPAA and HITRUST

Jan 30, 2024 | Data

When an organization is overwhelmed and underfunded, it may need help to protect sensitive data. In the healthcare industry, information leaks can lead to ethical and legal violations, including noncompliance with federal laws. Outsourcing IT security solutions to a HIPAA compliant, HITRUST certified partner will ensure patient information is kept as secure as possible.

As healthcare entities search for a trustworthy data security partner, it’s important to understand the difference between HIPAA compliant and HITRUST certified.

Let’s break it down.

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a law in the United States that helps keep personal health information private. Since 1996, it has set standards for how healthcare organizations handle sensitive medical data, ensuring it’s kept confidential. HIPAA also gives patients certain rights regarding their health information, such as access to their medical records and control over who can see details of their care.

When it comes to IT security, HIPAA compliance is mandatory. It assures that the IT provider has taken the necessary steps to protect health information when handling electronic data. It’s a way of saying, “We understand the rules for keeping medical information safe, and we’re committed to following them.”

HITRUST Compliance

HITRUST, or the Health Information Trust Alliance, sets comprehensive security criteria for handling health data. When an IT provider is HITRUST certified, it signals that they have implemented robust measures to secure electronic health information beyond basic requirements. IT providers must go through extensive auditing and rigorous measures to obtain this certification – a step beyond the mandatory HIPAA compliance.

The HITRUST r2 Validated Assessment is recognized as the gold standard in information protection assurances, thanks to its exhaustive control requirements and meticulous review process.


Created by lawyers and lawmakers, HIPAA is a federal law that provides a set of rules for healthcare organizations to protect sensitive health data and give individuals the right to access their health records. Moreover, HIPAA protects people and entities from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, or sex – information that someone could use against them unlawfully.

Created by Security Industry experts, the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) outlines specific controls that healthcare organizations should implement to protect electronic data. Every IT company with a HITRUST certification is committed to following the CSF.

The Difference Between HITRUST and HIPAA

A data protection company must be HIPAA compliant, but they may have taken extra security measures to become HITRUST certified.

A HIPAA compliant company can ensure healthcare organizations follow government mandates. However, it may not be able to identify possible threats at the same level as a HITRUST-certified IT organization.

A data protection company that is HIPAA compliant in addition to HITRUST certified will offer the most robust security measures for patient privacy and legal compliance.

Choosing a HITRUST Certified IT Partner

SmartBase, HIPAA compliant + HITRUST r2 certified, emerges as a trustworthy IT partner. We offer a comprehensive solution for healthcare organizations looking to reinforce their defenses, protect their patients, and adhere to federal laws. Contact SmartBase for your IT and data management needs.

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