Healthcare IT leaders address cybersecurity risks in Senate briefing

As healthcare becomes increasingly digitized, providers find themselves at growing risk of a cyber attack. These attacks not only pose a threat to personal identity, but also patient safety given the growing number of internet-enabled devices.

College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) members take their role of safeguarding their intuitions from nefarious actors very seriously. Hospital CIOs continue to ramp up such security measures as single sign-on, identity management and data loss prevention. According to the 2015 Healthcare’s Most Wired Survey, 94 percent of Most Wired hospitals have privacy audit systems in place and 79 percent conduct cybersecurity tabletop exercises.

As part of National Health IT Week, CHIME, along with HIMSS and the Association for Executives in Health Information Security (AEHIS), will hold a briefing Tuesday, Oct. 6, “Cybersecurity in Healthcare: The Growing Challenge of Securing Patient Data.” Leaders from across the industry will highlight efforts being taken to protect patient data.

With healthcare now a prime target, it is imperative that industry leaders and government officials work in tandem to minimize the risk of a cyberattack, something that President Obama acknowledging when he designated October National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In comments last year on the federal government’s Cybersecurity Framework, which applied to multiple critical industries, CHIME pointed out that healthcare has some distinctive characteristics. These include healthcare’s regulatory environment; the various settings from which care is delivered; the varied resources of small, rural and critical access hospitals; the need to identify financial incentives for investment; and the need to craft policies that do not inhibit health information exchange and mobile health. As a result, CHIME believes that the federal government should work with healthcare stakeholders to develop industry-specific standards for protecting health information from cyber criminals.

“Both Congress and regulatory agencies need to work with the industry to advance better information sharing,” said Charles Christian, FCHIME, LCHIME, CHCIO, chair of the CHIME Board of Trustees. “We also encourage Congress to pursue legislation that harmonizes the patchwork of regulations governing privacy, security and risk management.”

Tuesday’s briefing will be in 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building, 12:00-1:30 pm. Click here to RSVP. 

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