The hospital digital revolution & what it means for cybersecurity: 4 Qs with University Hospital Newark, New Jersey's interim CISO

Jim Garrett, interim chief information security officer at University Hospital of Newark, New Jersey, and CISO at Mount Airy, Md.-based Quality IT Partners Consulting, discusses the digital revolution's effect on healthcare and the new wave of clinical and cloud-based analytical systems that support the hospital care process.

Question: What do you consider to be the most important aspect of hospital data protection?

Jim Garrett: Data integrity is critical. New clinical systems and cloud-based analytical systems are part of the hospital digital revolution. Keeping the data synchronized across vendors and disparate systems and preventing data corruption or malfeasant modification of data is critical.

Q: What advice would you give to other hospital CISOs or CSOs to get hospital staff on the same page in the aftermath of a cyberattack?

JG: Ensure that a two-way communication path is operational and frequently exercised with hospital staff. Email communication, a help desk line, all-hands meetings and putting a face or name to the cyber security organization are the tools to use. The hospital staff, when aware of cyber threats and their symptoms, can be the best defense and best recovery tool when a cyberattack occurs.

Q: What do you see as the next big cybersecurity threat hospitals should look out for and why?

JG: Malicious denial of service attacks and/or natural disaster will be increasing threats to hospitals. There is a new wave of clinical systems and cloud-based analytical systems to support hospital care processes — from automate case management and scheduling to real-time post-surgical wound care alerting. Once these systems become a necessary and operational part of a hospital’s care delivery model, they must always be available. So, I believe business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities of hospitals must improve in the event denial of service attacks or natural disasters occur.

Q: As a CISO, what are a few IT trends you want to learn more about?

JG: Mobile care or home care for patients. Also, big data analytics and artificial intelligence.

To learn more about hospital and health system cybersecurity, as well as the key trends for CISOs, register for the Becker's Hospital Review 2nd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership Conference May 2-4, 2019 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register.

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