The HITRUST Act (Health Information Trust Alliance) establishes the framework for online healthcare information security, while also encouraging healthcare organizations to adopt digital patient files. Digitizing healthcare information makes it easier to share between approved organizations or personnel. Patients can also access their records online, eliminating the need for them to request paper copies.
The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) first introduced the Common Security Framework (CSF) in 2007. CSF protects sensitive data, while also managing the security risks global organizations often face, along with their third-party suppliers. CSF documents and compares HIPAA and HITECH requirements to the security and privacy regulations. When patients know that their information is secure, it can help build trust between them and their healthcare organization.
Companies that broadly occupy the security space might consider a new service they could offer at the intersection of healthcare and cybersecurity: becoming a HITRUST assessor.
All kinds of personal data already lives online, but now we’re faced with medical categories of data being usefully stored there as well. And the cynics and realists alike know that anything stored online is fundamentally vulnerable to cyber attacks
Good results don’t necessarily come cheap.
When it comes to the technical infrastructure that manages data within the healthcare industry, it not only needs to be highly useful for approved personnel like doctors and pharmacists, but it also needs to be kept very safe at the same time. In other words, data on these systems need to be both highly secure and highly accessible. It’s a little easier said than done.
The ten biggest healthcare data breaches in 2018 ended up costing major sums of money and compromising millions of patient data records. Breaches in the healthcare space are rising because cybercriminals are gluttons for other people’s data, and hospitals retain loads of it.
Like going to the doctor for an updated checkup, healthcare companies need to know where they stand concerning cybersecurity on the regular. A HITRUST certification is like getting a booster shot that’s valid for two years and will protect you from a wide variety of cybersecurity concerns.
Healthcare organizations are some of the juiciest targets out there for malicious cybercriminals in search of someone to compromise. These entities hoard data that is both highly sensitive and highly identifiable, so breaches here can have serious repercussions on people’s privacy and general security alike. These breaches are not only expensive to fix but leave people feeling especially vulnerable.
The healthcare industry is understandably concerned with compliance and certification — there are lives on the line! The people operating various medical machinery should be fully certified to do so, and patients should see fully qualified doctors for the best outcomes. It’s just how they get the care they need.
But beyond ensuring these requirements are met (and that everyone’s hands are clean in the process), robust healthcare organizations need to be considering their approach to cybersecurity and data protection as well. Data stored by businesses in this category is especially appealing to cybercriminals for its dual nature — not only is it highly sensitive, but it’s highly identifiable as well.
When we see other drivers on the road, we tend to assume they’re all licensed, insured, and level-headed. Until they prove otherwise in front of us, we take it for granted that everyone’s an excellent driver — you know, like us.
But when we show up at a doctor’s office or share payment details for a recent medical procedure, we assume healthcare professionals are following all the best practices concerning the security of that data. But we go to the pharmacy because we need to fill a prescription, not because they’re reputed for their cybersecurity. How do businesses call attention to their cybersecurity mindfulness, and how do consumers make the best choice when it comes to matters of handling their personal data?
There’s a simple answer already out there: they look for HITRUST compliance.
Top-of-the-line firewall and antivirus software might go a long way toward protecting the data on your own network, but how do you protect the most sensitive data when it lives somewhere else entirely? You surely need someone else’s help to protect your data when it lives in places you might not even be aware of. The healthcare industry stashes patient data all over the place, for example.