An article from Politico last week outlined a potentially major problem for America’s digital medical records. Cyber security experts are predicting a malicious hack that could jeopardize thousands of patient’s sensitive information. It is simply a matter of when the attack occurs and the breadth of the damage. Robert Wah, president of the American Medical Association, believes the current situation will lead to “an arms race between the criminal element and those trying to protect health data.”
The health care industry has already had a rude cyber security awakening, with the Target Corporation data breach last year. There have been countless other serious attacks occurring since. Health care has substantial ground to make up on other industries, “trailing banks and retailers with decades of experience in cyber security.” With the value of an individual’s medical information being approximately $500 on the black market and healthcare digital systems being “the least prepared for a cyber attack,” hackers are not likely to go anywhere.
Why is the healthcare industry so far behind other industries when it comes to cyber security? Spending could be a major factor. According to the Health Information Management Systems Society, “half of surveyed health systems reported spending 3 percent less of their IT budgets on security.” Capitol Hill is finally joining the effort. Kathy Downing of the American Health Information Management Association believes “hospitals must proactively set standards for cyber security, rather than simply following government privacy rules, which were written in a different time.” As a medical group, it is absolutely imperative to make cybersecurity a corporate priority and devote substantial funding towards securing your infrastructure, systems, and critical data.
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