Building a Better Health Data Security Risk Assessment Tool


Altarum helped the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) improve usability of an online Security Risk Assessment Tool (SRA Tool) designed for health care professionals to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities of their health data, and to ensure they are in compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule.


We assessed the existing ONC tool, conducted usability testing, and gathered feedback from users about their experience. Based on the results, we created a user-friendly interface, integrated built-in reference tools for all HIPAA standards and ePHI safeguards, and added a software wizard that uses branching logic to guide users through each step of the process. Finally, we decoupled the system to allow ONC to easily update the tool remotely with new regulations and standards.  


The new tool is playing a vital role in assisting health care providers in complying with federal security standards and staying abreast of cybersecurity best practices. For the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ ONC and OCR agencies, the enhanced SRA tool strengthens their ability to easily provide data security analyses and assessments that offer the most up-to-date guidance for protecting protected electronic health data. In addition, the tool has been readily embraced by users, having been downloaded more than 100,000 times. 


John Christensen
Project Leader, Public Health IT Systems
Professional headshot of Altarum Chief Program and Strategy Officer Laura Sankey
Executive Vice President and Chief Program and Strategy Officer