Stay ahead of developments in federal and state health care law, regulation and transactions with timely, expert news and analysis.
By Alex Ruoff
Nov. 9 — Two-thirds of the nation's health-care provider organizations have experienced some kind of cyberattack in recent years and increased spending on data security hasn't improved the industry's readiness against attacks, according to a survey conducted by HIMSS released Nov. 9.
Most health-care industry executives told HIMSS they've increased their IT security budgets significantly in recent years and taken steps to reduce their risk of experiencing a breach.
However, executives are still unsure whether their organizations are prepared to fend off a cyberattack, according to the survey. The percentage of health-care organizations that were the target of a cyberattack rose by 10 percent from 2014 to 2015.
Most health-care organizations were surprised by how sophisticated and persistent cybercriminals can be, a HIMSS executive said during a Nov. 9 briefing on the survey results.
“I don't think anyone was prepared for the level of cyber threat we're seeing,” Lisa Gallagher, vice president of technology solutions for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, said. “What we saw in the most recent attacks made a lot of us rethink how secure our systems are.”
Gallagher spoke at HIMSS’s Mobile Health and Cybersecurity summit near Washington.
For the survey, HIMSS polled security executives with 297 different health-care provider companies.
HIMSS has been conducting security surveys with health-care companies since 2008, Gallagher said. The most recent survey was the first focused solely on cybersecurity, she said.
Cyberattacks on health insurers Anthem and Premera earlier in 2015 have many health-care organizations worried they'll be next, Gallagher said.
The survey found that more health-care companies than ever are preparing for cyberattack. Nearly 90 percent said information security had become a critical business priority for them.
In 2008, 75 percent of health-care companies surveyed by HIMSS said they'd conducted a security risk assessment to analyze their IT vulnerabilities. A risk assessment is commonly considered a significant first step in cybersecurity.
In 2015, more than 90 percent of health-care companies surveyed by HIMSS said they'd conducted a security risk assessment.
However, the majority of health-care executives also said they need new tools to combat the rising cyberthreat. Eighty-one percent of executives said they need “more innovative and advanced tools” to combat the security threats they face.
Federal investigators also warned Nov. 9 that cybercriminals are increasingly using sophisticated techniques to gain access to health-care organizations’ IT systems.
Hackers are “doing their homework” on senior personnel before launching phishing attacks or other campaigns aimed at accessing the troves of personal data health-care companies store, Donald Good, deputy director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, said at the cybersecurity summit.
These more targeted attacks can be harder to detect and are resulting in larger and larger breaches of data, he said.
“The threat actors we’re faced with today are very, very smart,” Good said. “They do a lot of homework before they decide who to hack.”
Good said the FBI believes many of the larger breaches at health-care organizations were likely caused by nation states rather than independent criminals or terrorists.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ruoff in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kendra Casey Plank at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)