Data privacy has been thrust into the spotlight this year, with several high-profile breaches and new global threats seemingly popping up each day. While information security is important for all consumer industries, healthcare organizations possess highly-sensitive personal data and therefore have a critical responsibility to keep their patients safe. According to a report by cybersecurity provider Protenus, there were 477 data breaches impacting 5.6 million patient records in 2017. In order to maintain patient security and to trust the integrity of their systems, providers need to adopt a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. At HealthTECH Resources, Inc., we work with many leading providers to help them not only keep their patients’ data safe but turn it into actionable insights. As a result, we have gained a unique view of the tactics that are most effective. Here are a few that stand out for our clients:
- Make smart decisions about technology based on organizational goals: Perhaps this one seems obvious, but all too often in our hyperconnected world, we see organizations that quickly move to adopt technology without having a full understanding on how it will integrate within their broader tech stack. Remember, each new technology and tool is another potential channel where data can be compromised or inadvertently manipulated. Smart organizations will develop a safety protocol and plans for each new piece of technology and ensure that they are working with reputable and secure vendors.
- Employ highly-technical talent to stay ahead of security threats: For many healthcare organizations, internal cybersecurity teams may not be adequately resourced to stay ahead of threats and to ensure data safety. Increasingly, providers are looking to outside experts to focus on specific areas of the business in order to maintain data integrity and trust. As new technology and regulations emerge, having talent that is up-to-speed and focused is critical for healthcare organizations that want to stay out of the headlines.
- Train all users across the organization: Again, this one might seem obvious, but according to MediaPro’s 2017 State of Privacy and Security Awareness Report, a whopping 78 percent of healthcare employees showed some lack of preparedness with common privacy and security threat scenarios. Employees that are handling data throughout the care continuum have a responsibility to ensure it is kept safe and secure, but the responsibility of training those employees rests with the organization. We work frequently with providers to help them design comprehensive training programs that fit the custom needs of their organizations.
Certainly, these are simplified steps, the truth is, recognizing a best-in-class, secure healthcare organization requires a highly-skilled team, ongoing planning, and strategy, as well as an integrated set of technology and systems. As new threats emerge and regulatory considerations evolve, providers will need to continue to stay ahead of the curve to be successful and to fulfill their responsibility to patients.
Are you planning to improve your cybersecurity ecosystem? Reach out and I’d love to set you up with one of our expert consultants to see how we might be able to help you achieve your goals.
PRESIDENT/CEO AT HEALTHTECH RESOURCES
Larry has specialized in building strategic healthcare relationships for over 25 years, helping the nation’s top payors and providers solve some of their most pressing business challenges through an intelligent mix of staffing services, training, and consulting.