Data breaches remain an urgent daily concern for healthcare providers and their business partners. In August 2018 alone, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services posted to its breach portal 18 separate incidents that exposed unsecured protected health information (PHI) affecting at least 500 individuals.
As outlined in the timeline below, during just the past three months, six distinct entities reported PHI breaches affecting more than 100,000 individuals.
A separate analysis, presented by the cybersecurity firm Protenus, found over 3 million patient records compromised in 142 healthcare incidents during the second quarter of 2018. Reported hacking events rose 73 percent compared to 2018’s first quarter, according to Protenus, with attacks spanning healthcare entities in 38 states.
Aside from workforce education regarding phishing attacks, hospitals and health systems should consider countermeasures to safeguard PHI, say digital security experts. Actions may include deployment of intrusion-prevention software or hyperlink analyzers. Additionally, in the event of a successful exploit, network management technology may help maintain perimeter controls and limit the operational impact.
Further, technology such as NetDirector’s HealthData Exchange, used by provider organizations and their informational trading partners, preserves data integrity from the top-down. The HealthData Exchange platform incorporates inherent security protection through HIPAA and SOC 2 certifications, thereby removing the provider’s data risk as part of the technology-integration solution on the front end.