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Cybersecurity is an Increased Business Priority for Healthcare Leaders, Survey Finds

June 30, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
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Provider leaders, on average, use 11 different technologies to shield their organization’s protected health information (PHI), a new survey revealed.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) surveyed nearly 300 healthcare leaders across the industry on the issue of securing patient data. Nearly every single one, 87 percent in all, said cybersecurity was increased business priority over the past year due to the increasing threats to PHI. Two-thirds of the respondents said their organization had experienced a significant security incident.

“The recent breaches in the healthcare industry have been a wake-up call that patient and other data are valuable targets and healthcare organizations need a laser focus on cybersecurity threats,” Lisa Gallagher, Vice President of Technology Solutions at HIMSS, said in a statement. “Healthcare organizations need to rapidly adjust their strategies to defend against cyber-attacks. This means implementing threat data, incorporating new tools and sophisticated analysis into their security process.”

The hacking threats have been ramped up in healthcare, with major providers and insurers having been made victims of cybercriminals. Forty-two percent of respondents to HIMSS said there were too many threats to track. Sixty-two percent of security incidents have resulted in limited disruption of IT systems with limited impact on clinical care and IT operations.

The good news from the survey is that it seems more healthcare IT leaders are preparing themselves for these attacks. Eight out of ten respondents use network monitoring to detect and investigate information security incidents and 87 percent use antivirus/malware tools. More than half incorporate internal security teams to monitor and detect threats and have hired a full-time chief information security officer (CISO).

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