Cyber-security is vital in everyday business for almost all industries. But, did you know that one in four customers have had their healthcare data stolen? As such, proper cybersecurity measures are crucial for keeping patients, doctors, and other healthcare providers information safe. Delaying the implementation of proper defenses against cyber threats has put sensitive information at risk. Here are a few of the reasons why cybersecurity must be an increased priority for the healthcare sector.
Securing patient and provider information is mandatory under current HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules and regulations. Advancements in technology have prompted many providers to go digital; with digitalization also comes vulnerability to cyber attacks and hacks, and thus, potential threats to HIPAA compliance. Cybersecurity is crucial to maintaining compliance by protecting vital health data and patient confidentiality in the age of increased digitization of records. Healthcare companies should plan to recruit experts in the field (like IT specialists) to create an effective barrier against attack. A cyber-security expert can do this by making sure all information is anonymous and encoded.
Besides being legally important, efficient cybersecurity measures have the potential to save many organizations a significant amount of money. According to Healthcare Dive, “A breached healthcare organization can expect to see a 6.7% increase in customer churn and to lose nearly $4 million in business as a result of its tarnished reputation.” Even a minor breach can shake consumers trust of an organization. This trust is one of a healthcare organization’s most valuable assets, and it translates directly into revenue. Putting the right protections in place is critical towards patient retention and prevention of lost revenue. Data breaches directly impact patient’s pockets as well. It’s not uncommon for cyber-thieves to order prescriptions or seek medical attention under a false name, and much of the data contained within a health record can place a patient at risk for identity theft.
How to Take Action
It’s never too late to implement good cybersecurity measures and luckily there are plenty of resources to do so. Start by evaluating what you need to protect and who you need to protect it from. This includes: targeted hackers, outside hackers, viruses, and employees who may compromise sensitive information. Healthcare organizations need to work with experienced professionals to evaluate the permeability of their systems, and then put the right security measures in place. One key measure is user authentication. Organizations should plan to set this up as an extra measure of security for patents to protect their electronic medical records and other information stored online.
Although many organizations balk at the cost of implementing good cybersecurity, taking action to prevent data breaches and other cyber-security threats now will pay off in the long run. This is a critical measure in the digital age, and one that can determine whether an organization survives or perishes.