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Policy/Program Change Details
HITRUST will soon release updated guidance for placing reliance on the results of previously performed audits, assessments, and inspections. This updated guidance will be posted no later than October 17, 2019 as updates to the HITRUST CSF Assurance Program Requirements and HITRUST CSF Assessment Methodology documents.

HITRUST has historically afforded the following two approaches for “External Assessors” (previously referred to as “HITRUST Authorized External Assessors”) to rely on the results of previously performed control testing:

  1. Inheritance of the results of other HITRUST CSF Assessments, and
  2. Reliance on audit reports and certifications issued by third-party auditors (such as SOC 2 Type II reports) that meet the requirements as established by the CSF Assurance program.

These updates clarify these two options by specifying associated timing, scope, and documentation requirements. External Assessors are encouraged to take particular note of the following new requirements that must be observed when placing reliance on a third-party audit report:

  • Both the External Assessor and HITRUST Services Corp. must both be authorized recipients of the third-party audit report. Reliance cannot be placed on third-party audit reports for which neither HITRUST or the External Assessor are authorized to receive.
  • When designing a reliance strategy, the External Assessor must map the applicable / scoped HITRUST CSF requirement statements to the controls / requirements tested in the third-party audit. In the absence of this mapping, the External Assessor cannot form a meaningful reliance strategy and lacks an adequate, demonstrable basis for reliance on the third-party audit report. To support HITRUST’s QA efforts, this mapping as well as the third-party audit report must be made available to HITRUST.

These methodology updates are expected to:

  • Help highlight any over-reliance or unwarranted reliance on the work of other auditors and External Assessors.
  • Provide needed clarity and transparency around HITRUST’s expectations around timing, scope, and documentation when reliance is placed on the work of others.

Timetable for Implementation
Observance of these new reliance documentation requirements will be mandatory for assessment objects submitted and accepted on or after December 31, 2019.

The term “Accepted” means that HITRUST has confirmed to the assessor that all required documents were included in the submission. If documents are missing, the submission is reverted back to the assessor for correction. Upon acceptance of a submission, the assessment object is added to the Assurance team’s queue to await full QA procedures. Average acceptance time of the submission process is one to three business days.

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