How hospitals should approach cybersecurity

Though technology continues to advance to prevent errors and data breaches, cybersecurity incidents have been on the rise. This can be attributed to cyber criminals becoming more sophisticated and hospitals not having a large budget for cybersecurity solutions.

Panelists at Becker’s 5th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference, Oct. 9-12, discussed how to better manage cybersecurity efforts. The panel featured:

  • Mike Nelson, senior vice president and CIO of Universal Health Services.
  • J. Britton Tabor, executive vice president and CFO/treasurer of Erlanger Health System.
  • Esteban Gershanik, MD, physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
  • Gregory Bryant, IT director of Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine & Joint Hospital.

Here are three takeaways:

1. When it comes to cybersecurity, sometimes the most valuable person in the room isn't the person who knows all about the technology, rather, the person who can explain the technology to others. Leaders and experts should know how to explain how a cybersecurity solution works to anyone. At a time when there are many cybersecurity threats, it's all about communicating and translating the technology and cybersecurity risks to staff.

2. One of the biggest cybersecurity obstacles hospitals are facing is that operating systems, including computers, software, lab networks and EHRs, cannot be upgraded to their most current versions because the systems are not working together. When you add in infusion pumps and CT scanners, it gets even more difficult to upgrade software. If programs are not interoperable, hospitals should test and evaluate appropriate backups.

3. After adopting new tools to prevent cybersecurity attacks, leaders must also deploy a team to assess the tools. If a hospital adopts a system that is doing the appropriate tasks, but no one is monitoring it, the solution is worthless. Hospitals need to constantly evaluate their risks.

More articles on cybersecurity:
DeepThink Health, VScript left thousands of patients' info exposed online
Hackers try to divert payments to telemedicine company into fraudulent bank accounts
Texas lab alerts 16,000 patients of data breach

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