If you want to know more about the reason why is healthcare cybersecurity so important for you, then this article is just for you. Healthcare organizations store and have access to personal data, medical records, credit cards, bank account numbers, personally identifying information, and critical third-party data. These data and information are of high monetary and intelligence value to cyber criminals. Thus, healthcare organizations are highly vulnerable to cyber crime.
Around 69% of organizations in the healthcare industry say that they are at high risk for a data breach. In fact, cyber crime attacks, particularly ransomware, on healthcare organizations are predicted to grow by 5X by 2021. Let’s understand the potential healthcare cyber-attacks and the loopholes that make the healthcare industry more prone to these attacks. You will also get to know the importance of cybersecurity and HIPAA for healthcare organizations.
What Are Common Cybersecurity Attacks?
Here are some of the common healthcare security threats that a healthcare organization can face:
- Employees of a healthcare organization have access to patient’s information which they can abuse or steal.
- Malware and ransomware to plant malicious scripts on computers to shut down computer devices, servers, and networks.
- Phishing attacks by sending emails to obtain sensitive information from employees.
Why Are Healthcare Organizations Vulnerable to Cybersecurity Attacks?
Over 93% of healthcare organizations have already experienced a data breach over the past three years.
Here are some of the reasons and loopholes that lead to cybersecurity issues in a healthcare organization:
- Staff at healthcare organizations are usually not aware of the potential cybersecurity threats.
- The number of devices used by some hospitals makes it difficult to stay on top of security.
- Usage of outdated technology by healthcare organizations makes it easy for cyber criminals to attack these organizations.
HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules
If a healthcare organization fails to keep its patient records private, it can face substantial penalties under HIPAA’s privacy and security rules. It also potentially harms the organization’s reputation.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a US federal law protecting sensitive medical records and health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent and knowledge.
HIPAA risk assessments protects patients data and ensures the healthcare organization is fully protected. It comprises two key components related to healthcare data protection:
- Security rule: It sets guidelines for the administrative and technical handling of personal health information. It focuses on maintaining electronic PHI by covered entities.
- Privacy rule: It focuses on safeguarding the privacy of personal health information by covered entities. It limits the use and disclosure of health and personal information to third parties without patient consent.
What Are the Covered Entities?
Here are the entities related to healthcare that are covered under HIPAA:
- Healthcare providers: These are any healthcare providers who transmit health information related to transactions, such as claims, benefit eligibility inquiries, and referral authorization requests.
- Healthcare plans: It covers entities that provide and pay for medical care.
- Healthcare clearinghouses: These are the entities that process nonstandard information received from another healthcare provider.
- Business associates: It includes any person or organization that uses individually identifiable health information to provide services for a covered entity.
In 2020, 250 US hospitals lost the use of their systems for three weeks. In fact, the healthcare sector alone lost $25 billion to cyberattacks in 2020. Such incidents require healthcare organizations to establish and maintain protections for electronic PHI and comply with HIPAA.
Here are mandates for HIPAA compliant organizations:
- All data related to healthcare should have strong confidentiality and should be accessible to authorized people.
- Threats or any vulnerabilities to data integrity or security should be predicted whenever possible.
- The healthcare organizations also have the responsibility that their workforce must comply with the HIPAA law.
For every healthcare organization, irrespective of its size, it is important to improve its cybersecurity measures. They should continue to incorporate and strengthen cybersecurity measures to protect it from all malefactors. For more info about your privacy protection you can visit our features page. Don’t forget to like and share this post 🙂