'Technology has left the healthcare industry more vulnerable to attack' — Senator questions trade groups on cybersecurity

In response to recent large-scale data breaches and cyberattacks in the healthcare industry, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., sent a letter to various healthcare associations asking them to describe their current cybersecurity efforts and what improvements need to be made, according to The Hill.

"The increased use of technology in healthcare certainly has the potential to improve the quality of patient care, expand access to care (including by extending the range of services through telehealth), and reduce wasteful spending," Mr. Warner wrote, according to The Hill. "However, the increased use of technology has also left the healthcare industry more vulnerable to attack."

Mr. Warner, who serves as the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, cited a recent Government Accountability Office report that found more than 113 million healthcare records were breached in 2015.

In the letter, which was sent to groups such as the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and National Rural Health Association, Mr. Warner questioned how the organizations are tracking connected systems. Mr. Warner also asked how healthcare organizations are making their staffs more aware of cybersecurity threats, as well as what federal laws need to be changed to support their cybersecurity efforts.

"I would like to work with you and other industry stakeholders to develop a short- and long-term strategy for reducing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the healthcare sector," the senator concluded, according to The Hill. "It is my hope that with thoughtful and carefully considered feedback we can develop a national strategy that improves the safety, resilience and security of our healthcare industry."

More articles on cybersecurity:
'Data error' exposes 974,000 patient records at UW Medicine
Cloud security provider extends services to Google Cloud customers
Patient medical records sell for $1K on dark web

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