Cybersecurity incorporates a number of technologies to safeguard digital data. Threats come from unauthorized access and internal missteps lead to increased risks that hackers take advantage of. Healthcare is increasingly the target of cybercriminals as bad actors learn how to successfully target unguarded or insufficiently guarded data. This includes data sharing, digital health records and medical devices that send data to hospital systems without protecting the data in transit.
Health informatics makes the process more efficient. The threat of cyber attacks makes technology less reliable than it would otherwise be. At the same time, healthcare professionals rely on technology to retrieve, send and share healthcare data. Due to various cyber threats, every organization needs to invest in solutions that keep data secure without compromising access to technology for those fighting to save lives.
How Has the Digital Revolution Changed Healthcare?
Not too long ago, doctors had to limit their time with patients due to a mountain of complicated paperwork. The digital revolution has helped solve that problem. With fewer handwritten notes and more direct entry into electronic patient files, paperwork and the amount of time devoted to it have decreased dramatically.
This is a crucial advancement as the global population soars and the number of healthcare data becomes more difficult to secure. Cybersecurity in healthcare needs to secure the network and database without slowing down the process of providing efficient care.
Does Cybersecurity in Healthcare Save Money?
Cybersecurity saves millions of dollars in the healthcare industry. The industry has grown rapidly in the last two decades. Now, healthcare providers deal with many more patients in an 8-hour shift than they used to in a 12-hour one. This is largely due to the reduced paper trail made possible by digital technology.
With cloud-based computing, providers can share information with patients, colleagues and other departments in seconds. At the same time, safely storing and accessing patient data is also much easier.
How Important Is Cybersecurity to Patients?
Patients have the biggest stake in cybersecurity. After all, it’s their data and privacy that are at risk — and possibly their health. Hackers leak private information on the dark web, where it may be picked up to commit identity theft, Medicare fraud, and other crimes. Advanced cybersecurity allows medical professionals to ensure privacy and peace of mind for their patients. This also prevents legal issues related to hacked patient data.
Healthcare practices are at a disadvantage due to the many endpoints in the system, including the Internet of Things (IoT) devices that feed data into the network from various endpoints. Specifically, tablets introduce vulnerability because they hold patient health records or are used to access them. No matter how much administrators shore up the network, it only takes one outdated device to open the healthcare provider up to an attack.
What’s the Cost of Leaked Patient Data?
Healthcare providers need to protect their practice as well as those they serve. This requires robust cybersecurity that prevents the leaking of patient data. When information is leaked, legal costs can skyrocket and even bankrupt a practice or provider.
What Improvements Need to Be Made?
Healthcare organizations can take the following steps to secure their data:
- Patch systems based on the recommendations of system and application vendors
- Open only required ports
- Scan systems to identify vulnerabilities
- Prioritize system vulnerabilities based on risk severity
- Enable SSL certificates and test to ensure they’re working as expected
Mike Bowe | Published on July 02, 2019