Safeguarding Patient Information Through Cybersecurity
healthcaretechoutlook

Safeguarding Patient Information Through Cybersecurity

Healthcare Tech Outlook | Friday, January 20, 2023

Confidential information like credit card and bank account numbers and personal identifying information (PII) such as Social Security numbers, intellectual property related to medical research and innovation are also included in the targeted data.

Fremont, CA: Healthcare organizations are constantly faced with cyber threats that can compromise patient safety. The hospital must view cybersecurity as a patient safety, enterprise risk, and strategic priority and incorporate it into its risk management, governance, and business continuity frameworks.

The healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks due to its high monetary and intelligence value to cyber thieves and nation-states. In addition to protected health information (PHI), financial information like credit card and bank account numbers, and personal identifying information (PII) such as Social Security numbers, intellectual property related to medical research and innovation are also included in the targeted data.

How cyberattacks threaten patient privacy, clinical outcomes, and your hospital’s financial resources

Because hackers can access PHI and other sensitive information through electronic health records, cyberattacks also pose a risk to patient privacy. You could face substantial penalties under HIPAA's Privacy and Security Rules, as well as harm to your organization's reputation.

There is also the possibility of jeopardizing patient safety and quality of care. You will be unable to effectively care for your patients if you lose access to medical records or lifesaving medical devices due to ransomware. When hackers have access to private patient data, they can steal it and they can alter the data either intentionally or unintentionally, which could have serious effects on patient health.

Take steps to protect your organization

Each and every waking moment, cyber criminals think about ways to compromise their cybersecurity controls and procedures. Managing cyber risk as an enterprise and strategic risk starts with elevating the issue. In addition, at least one person should be dedicated to leading the information security program full-time, and that person should have sufficient authority, status, and independence to be effective. Your organization's cyber risk profile should also be periodically updated so that you and your team are aware of whether adequate measures are being taken to mitigate this ever-changing threat as it evolves.

Last but not least, developing a culture of cyber security that focuses on patient safety is one of the most important defenses. In this way, healthcare organizations can embed cybersecurity into their existing patient care culture. In order to mitigate cyber risk to the organization and to the patients, staff members should view themselves as proactive defenders of patients and their data.

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