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An Update on Cybersecurity

Modern Healthcare recently released a report on “cyberdefense,” and because this is a timely topic of interest to our subscribers, we present excerpts from the report below. A link to the full article appears at the end of this blog/newsletter.


“Cybersecurity platforms that employ advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics are being marketed to providers, who have lagged behind other industries in protecting critical data. If deployed correctly, the technology has significant potential to help healthcare cybersecurity leaders, who are overwhelmed by cybersecurity threats but unable to hire enough staffers to adequately respond, healthcare cybersecurity experts say.


“Cyberattacks have steadily increased in the past few years, with HHS reporting 106 hacking incidents in 2016, nearly double the year before and over 20 times more attacks than were discovered in 2010. Hackers are hungry for personal information like addresses, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers. They also want medical records, which are immensely valuable because they allow identity thieves to create a more convincing profile of a stolen identity.


“Protective technologies entering the market work through algorithms. Artificial intelligence generally refers to the ability of computers to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, often involving the autonomous use of algorithms by a computer to analyze activity. Predictive analytics software feeds available data through algorithms and modeling to make predictions about what may occur to a network. Machine learning is the ability of computers to improve their analytical accuracy and capabilities by learning from data and activity.


“Vendors . . . are harnessing these technologies to create cybersecurity platforms that make sense of unusual activities, bring them to the attention of cybersecurity professionals and help them triage the threats. Some systems can be programmed to automatically block those threats.


“Data breaches are the most immediate cybersecurity worry for healthcare organizations. Nothing less than patient privacy, data access, ransomware cash and even the institution’s reputation could be put in play through slipshod data security practices.
“But looming over America’s hospitals and medical practices is a potentially deadlier threat: hackers or blackmailers taking over web-connected medical devices and threatening to inflict patient harm.


“Healthcare cybersecurity professionals are sounding the alarm bells about a medical device industry that has lagged behind other industries in equipping their products with strong defenses against hacking. It’s a problem providers can’t avoid, even though they have limited staff to ensure that their medical device security is up-to-date and their networked data flow has adequate protections.” (“Building a Better Cyberdefense, Special Report: How to harness technology to protect your organization and patients from the latest cyberthreats,” Modern Healthcare, January 2017)


To read the full report, click here.



iProtean, now part of Veralon subscribers, the advanced Finance course, Driving a Sustained Culture of Quality, What Works, What Doesn’t, featuring Larry McEvoy, M.D., and Stephen Beeson, M.D., is in your library. As always, Drs. McEvoy and Beeson take a cutting-edge view of the board’s role in overseeing quality—beyond the traditional processes and structures where boards customarily focus their oversight responsibilities.



For a complete list of iProtean, now part of Veralon courses, click here.



For more information about iProtean, now part of Veralon, click here.