Navigating MIPS SAFER guides Requirements for 2024

As healthcare providers gear up for the new year, it’s essential to stay abreast of the latest requirements and updates in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). In 2024, MIPS introduces several key requirements, including the adoption of the SAFER (Security Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience) guides and continued emphasis on Security Risk Analysis (SRA). Let’s delve into these requirements and explore their significance for MIPS participants.

Introduction to MIPS Requirements for 2024:

MIPS continues to evolve, with 2024 bringing forth new requirements aimed at enhancing the security and resilience of electronic health record (EHR) systems. These requirements underscore the importance of safeguarding patient data and mitigating cybersecurity risks in healthcare settings.

The SAFER Guide Requirement:

One of the notable additions to MIPS requirements for 2024 is the adoption of the SAFER (Security Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience) guides. Developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the SAFER guides provide healthcare organizations with practical guidance on enhancing the security and resilience of their EHR systems.

The SAFER guides encompass nine security assurance domains, including:

  1. User Authentication
  2. Access Control
  3. Audit Controls
  4. Data Integrity
  5. Transmission Security
  6. Security Management Processes
  7. Configuration Management
  8. Contingency Planning
  9. System and Information Integrity

By following the recommendations outlined in the SAFER guides, healthcare organizations can strengthen their cybersecurity posture, protect sensitive patient information, and ensure the reliable and secure operation of their EHR systems.

Understanding SAFER Guides vs. Security Risk Analysis (SRA):

It’s important to differentiate between the SAFER guides and Security Risk Analysis (SRA), as they serve distinct but complementary purposes:

  1. SAFER Guides: The SAFER guides provide comprehensive guidance on improving EHR safety and usage. The SAFER guides are designed to offer healthcare organizations practical recommendations for implementing security best practices and enhancing the resilience of their EHR systems.
  2. Security Risk Analysis (SRA): SRA is a broader process that involves identifying, assessing, and mitigating security risks across the entire healthcare organization. It encompasses a comprehensive evaluation of potential threats and vulnerabilities to patient information, infrastructure, and operations. SRA is a foundational component of HIPAA compliance and is required for MIPS participation.

While the SAFER guides offer targeted guidance on improving EHR security, SRA provides a holistic assessment of cybersecurity risks and helps healthcare organizations develop effective risk management strategies.


As MIPS requirements evolve in 2024, healthcare providers must prioritize cybersecurity and resilience in their EHR systems. By adopting the SAFER guides and conducting regular Security Risk Analysis, healthcare organizations can enhance the security and integrity of patient data, mitigate cybersecurity risks, and demonstrate compliance with MIPS requirements.

Stay informed, stay proactive, and stay committed to safeguarding patient information in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.