Skip to content Skip to navigation

WEDI Releases Healthcare Cybersecurity White Paper Outlining Best Practices to Mitigate Risk

March 20, 2017
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) has issued a cybersecurity white paper examining health IT vulnerabilities and how stakeholders can mitigate risk in the wake of record data breaches striking the healthcare industry.

WEDI, a Reston, Va.-based nonprofit organization focused on the use of health IT to create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange, developed the white paper, entitled “The Rampant Growth of Cybercrime in Healthcare,” which can found here, in order to examines common vulnerabilities that are typically exploited by cybercriminals in today’s healthcare environment, as well as best practices healthcare organizations can implement to mitigate these vulnerabilities.

According to the paper: “As the use of health IT becomes more widespread, cybersecurity must be more directly integrated into the fabric of healthcare and ultimately become an organizational asset that is perceived as commonplace and mission-critical as hygiene and patient safety procedures have become to quality care. No matter how high the walls that any one organization is able to erect against cybercriminals, the healthcare industry at large must coalesce as a united front to more collectively address how to implement a universal culture of cyberdefense and train a more resilient workforce to mitigate threats.”

Stemming from topics discussed at multi-stakeholder cybersecurity roundtables convened in November 2015 and April 2016 by WEDI and sponsored by Fortinet, the 15-page document outlines how cybercrimes are more commonplace in the healthcare landscape given the high value of digital health records which have “attracted organized crime and government-sponsored entities that in turn are capable of launching sophisticated attacks to disrupt, disable, destroy or maliciously control digital technology and data of organizations. As cybercrimes have become more prevalent and complex in healthcare, they are also causing greater damage.”

In light of the cybersecurity challenges identifies, roundtable participants identified the following best practices for mitigation to the industry, as explored in the white paper:

1.       Drive a cultural change in how cybersecurity is approached in healthcare, beginning with raising awareness to educate stakeholders around the risk and cost of cyberattacks;

2.       Build the business case for cybersecurity and move it into the executive suite;

3.       Develop cybersecurity frameworks that provide a robust, forward-facing roadmap to protect organizations in a changing environment; and

4.       Apply lessons learned from other industries.

Some additional key highlights from the white paper include:

  • It is critical for organizations to assess their current approach to cybersecurity, understand potential adversaries that they may encounter and identify the vulnerabilities that may be targeted before developing a comprehensive and robust strategy to effectively detect, mitigate and prevent cyberthreats across multiple fronts
  • In 2016, the leading causes of reported data breaches in healthcare were unauthorized access (40 percent) and hacking (33 percent), while theft and loss of data actually saw a decrease in the number of incidents
  • Of the current cyber threats that compromise data today, healthcare organizations are most concerned by ransomware (69 percent), phishing attacks (61 percent) and negligent insiders (55 percent) which can often be the most difficult to prevent and protect, given the human elements involved.

 

 

Get the latest information on Cybersecurity and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

House Republicans, Short of Votes, Withdraw the American Health Care Act

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) called off a scheduled vote in the House of Representatives Friday on Republicans’ embattled healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act (ACHA), as a growing number of Republicans opposed the bill, Ryan announced during a press conference at 4 pm Friday.

Trump Administration Appoints Peter Severino to Head Office for Civil Rights

Roger Severino, a former staffer at The Heritage Foundation, has been appointed as the director of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACP: EHRs Have Great Benefits, but Raise Ethical Questions, Too

Electronic health records (EHRs) should facilitate high value patient-centered care, strong patient-physician relationships, and effective training of future physicians, but they also raise ethical questions, the ACP wrote.

Allegheny Health Network, VA Pittsburgh Integrate EMR Systems

Allegheny Health Network (AHN), based in Pittsburgh, and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS), have announced the successful integration of their electronic medical record (EMR) platforms.

Wisconsin Urology Group Notifies Patients of Data Breach Due to Ransomware Attack

Wauwatosa, Wis.-based Metropolitan Urology Group has notified its patients of a breach of unsecured patient health information due to a ransomware attack back in November 2016.

Study: For Post-Op Patients, Mobile Apps for Follow-Up Care Led to Fewer In-Person Visits

For patients undergoing ambulatory surgery, those who used a mobile app for follow-up care attended fewer in-person visits post- operation than patients who did not use the app, according to a study in JAMA Surgery.