It can be argued that the healthcare industry is the only industry that, at its core, doesn’t necessarily want to see repeat visitors and clients, hoping to help people get healthy and stay that way. It focuses on maintenance to avoid any major health problems. However, the industry is unavoidably built on seeing patients multiple times, coming back for check-ups and consultations and procedures.
This being the case, it’s no surprise to see that the healthcare industry is the perfect target for cybersecurity issues as patient data is not only stored but added to overtime.
2019 saw a string of significant cyberattacks in the healthcare industry, including a breach that affected 12 million Quest Diagnostics patients. Healthcare cybersecurity has become a hot button problem for data security and the safety of peoples’ sensitive information that is supposed to be kept safe.
Doubling Down on Data
Data used for patients’ individual healthcare purposes for sustainment and check-ups is not centrally located. This information can be kept in a general practitioner’s office, a specialist’s care facility, hospital, or insurance company. What’s more, financial information regarding insurance coverage and payments is mixed with all sensitive data, including address, social security, and email information, adding to the level of sensitivity already in place.
Technology around data storage and sharing has also played a significant role in healthcare cybersecurity. This includes diagnostic equipment for medical services meant to provide critical care through check-ups. As the industry becomes more digitally dependent through the use of IoT devices, like tablets and cell phones, and shared through open networks, it’s important for data to be kept safe due to these items being susceptible to hacks and manipulation.
Since we are dealing with data in multiple locations, rather than one central secure location, having items such as stronger network security and healthcare cybersecurity insurance can protect hospitals, patients, specialized offices, and all the information shared and stored. Currently, there are industry-wide standards set in place by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for healthcare information on electric billing. These standards also require the protection and handling of protected health data.
Data Hygiene and Availability
Data hygiene, or lack thereof, has opened the door to many avoidable problems when it comes to cybersecurity problems in the healthcare industry. These challenges include maintaining secure assets by performing assessments for vulnerabilities, storing and processing data using secure processes and protocols, and removal of end-of-life operating systems that use and process sensitive information.
From pharmacies to general practitioners to specialists, the chances that someone’s sensitive data is compromised at some point along the way or just not kept as safe as it should be are significantly higher than they should normally be. And since there are flaws in the data system that are man-made, such as not changing passwords or locking screens to devices, it’s not hard to see the need for more focused data hygiene practices.
Personal health information needs to not only be available at any time but it should also be as secure as possible without patients having to worry about its safety. This means that information should be available at any place to an authorized individual, such as a patient or doctor.
While making data available at all times isn’t much of a challenge, finding appropriate access can be a problem. This is identity and access management systems are being used as they can create the proper roles for healthcare staff to have the right access in order to provide certification reporting.
About Highland Risk Services
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.