In Healthcare, Lack of Cybersecurity Could Cancel Your Show

Health plans are top targets for cyberattacks. Fortunately, more are taking steps to prevent a data breach.

Crime dramas on TV are prolific and popular. Breaking Bad, The Wire, CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Law and Order, and True Detective all play on our fears and often feature fascinating villains and dazzling technology. But cybercrime in healthcare is not entertaining. It’s deadly serious.

The Ponemon Institute’s 5th annual privacy and security report fingers criminal attacks as the number one cause of data breaches in healthcare, underscoring the seriousness and prevalence of cyberterrorism and the critical need for cybersecurity.

More than 90% of healthcare organizations and almost 60% of their business associates have experienced a data breach.  Virtually 80% of healthcare organizations have experienced multiple breaches since 2010. According to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), theft accounts for almost half of all cybercrime in healthcare. While credit card records are worth $1 on the black market, healthcare records command 5 times as much, because the rich data provides fertile ground for fraud.

Cybercrime occurs across the board in healthcare, but payers may be particularly susceptible because when criminals hack into an Anthem or Premera they open the floodgates to millions of records and data points almost instantaneously.

The Ponemon report showed that half of healthcare organizations and business associates have little or no confidence that they can prevent a data breach. While I acknowledge healthcare organizations cannot totally eliminate all risk of an incident or data breach, I am encouraged that more are proactively reducing their risk of a cyberattack or breach in a variety of ways, including:
To read the full article, visit the American Journal of Managed Care.