Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

EHNAC, Cooperative Exchange Partner for HIE Security

EHNAC and Cooperative Exchange's partnership will address privacy and security on HIEs, streamlining the auditing process for HIE accreditation.

By Sara Heath

- EHR interoperability and health information exchange (HIE) security accreditation just got easier. According to a recent press release, the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) has partnered with Cooperative Exchange to provide accreditation discounts to Cooperative Exchange members.

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The two bodies will also be working together to identify areas in which they can streamline the process for accreditation for privacy and security measures.

Leaders from Cooperative Exchange hope that this agreement will not only benefit the organization’s members, but will inform the healthcare industry as a whole about the complicated process to audit privacy and security provisions for HIE accreditation.

“This Membership Affinity Agreement with EHNAC will provide our member clearinghouses a tangible benefit, and we look forward to collectively working with EHNAC and others to raise awareness to member clearinghouses and the healthcare industry at-large regarding the redundancies between and among the number of third-party privacy and security audits, clearinghouses are required to comply with upon request of its clients,” said Sherry Wilson, the president of Cooperative Exchange.

According to Wilson, privacy and security are critical aspects of HIE, and ensuring their adequacy is a vital part of Cooperative Exchange’s constituents’ goals.

“Privacy and security is an integral part of a clearinghouse’s commitment to payers and providers to ensure the secure exchange of healthcare information,” Wilson said.

Because of the importance of HIE security, EHNAC says it holds high standards for its accreditation process. The organization audits privacy and security measures to ensure they meet several federal mandates such as HIPAA, the Omnibus Rule, ARRA/HITECH, and the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, the organization takes into account industry best practices for healthcare organizations and business associates.

EHNAC executives say that this agreement is just the next step in its long-standing history with Cooperative Exchange. After having worked with the organization for some time, EHNAC thought it best to use both organizations’ strengths to improve the audit process for accreditation.

“Our longstanding relationship with the Cooperative Exchange has been extremely valuable, as many Cooperative Exchange leaders and member organizations are integral parts of our own advisory, criteria and other committees,” said EHNAC executive director Lee Barrett.

“The natural progression of our relationship was one in which we recognize the synergies and look for ways in which we can make our processes the most efficient and effective for everyone. We look forward to working closely with Cooperative Exchange on those endeavors in 2016.”

This collaboration between EHNAC and Cooperative Exchange comes after EHNAC announced the finalization of updates to 16 accreditation programs and the addition of two new programs.

At the start of the new year, the organization added the Cloud Enabled Accreditation Program (CEAP) and the Data Registry Accreditation Program (DRAP).

CEAP is known as an extension program, meaning that only organizations that have been accredited in another program may become accredited under CEAP. The program has 74 measures to ensure that cloud technology meets HIPAA, HIPAA Omnibus, HITECH, and ACA requirements.

DRAP ensures that data registries “meet the privacy and security obligations expected of all large-scale handlers of protected health information.”

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