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HITRUST, Children’s Health Program to Help Physician Practices Address Cyber Risks

August 15, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The Health Information Trust Alliance (TRUST) and Children’s Health, a North Texas pediatric healthcare system, have launched HITRUST CyberAid as a program to help physician practices address growing cyber risks.

The program is geared toward smaller healthcare organizations, specifically physician practices with less than 75 employees, and aims to help them tackle cyber threats and information protection challenges by providing them with a cybersecurity solution designed to support the small business environment, according to the HITRUST announcement.

The increase in ransomware and other cyber threats targeting smaller healthcare organizations and the devastating impact that a breach can have on a physician practice and its patients—combined with a greater reliance on electronic and networked information systems and the demands by federal and state regulations to protect patient information—has increased the urgency to address these cyber risks, the HITRUST press release stated.

“As a small physician practice with limited IT support, I rest easier knowing that CyberAid monitoring is in place. Having this level of protection allows me to maintain my focus on caring for patients, while also ensuring their data is protected,” Mary Jean Strength, M.D., Waxahachie, Texas, said in a statement.

The CyberAid program was created with the mission to identify the right cyber solutions for these organizations at the right price point. The program evaluates and identifies solutions and processes that can be implemented, managed and operated cost effectively by organizations with limited technical and financial resources, while ensuring they meet the security control requirements and provide an effective level of cyber threat protection.

Children’s Health will work to inform the physician community on the importance of information security, helping engage small physician practices in the CyberAid program and gauge their satisfaction with the program’s results.

To start, 80 physician practices ranging from two to 15 physicians are deploying a HITRUST CyberAid offering consisting of installation assistance, hardware, software, monitoring services, training, and support. The initial 80 physician practice deployments are underway and are expected to be completed within the next three months. HITRUST and Children’s Health will be evaluating the effectiveness, usability, and satisfaction on an ongoing basis.

In September 2016, HITRUST will begin allowing physician groups across the US to subscribe to the service and engage with other hospitals, health systems and health plans throughout the country to expand the program nationally.

“Identifying solutions that address current and evolving cyber threats—not to mention implementing and managing these solutions—is daunting for a small practice,” Pete Perialas, senior vice president and chief strategy officer, Children’s Health, said in a statement. “Participating in current models of cyber threat sharing can be prohibitive, whereas CyberAid puts these levels of protection within reach.”

 

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