More Than One-Third of Organizations Lack Cybersecurity Response Plan

By Jay Asser

With cyberattacks in healthcare on the rise, it’s vital that practices have security measures in place to protect patient data.

Yet, only 63% of organizations have a cybersecurity plan in place, according to a survey by Software Advice, which means many are vulnerable to potentially crippling attacks that can be costly and damaging to patient trust.

The survey fielded answers from 296 respondents with IT management, data security, data management, or security training or audit responsibilities at healthcare organizations around the country.

The data revealed that half of organizations have experienced a data breach, with 32% dealing with one in the past three years.

More than one in four practices (42%) has experienced a ransomware attack, with nearly half (48%) reporting the attack impacted customer data, while 27% said it impacted patient care.

After a ransomware attack has taken place, a third of respondents (34%) failed to recover patient data from their attackers.

With 55% of practices allowing access to more data than employees need to their job, it introduces greater human error into the mix.

To counter the increase in threats, CEOs at both provider and payer organizations must take a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

Preventive measures, however, aren’t effective for attacks that have already happened, which is why it’s crucial for CEOs to implement a response plan “that includes defined roles and responsibilities, communication protocols, and a prioritization list,” the report said.

Not every organization that is prepared to prevent and respond to a cyberattack will be safe though.

Banner Health’s next CEO, Amy Perry, recently told HealthLeaders that it’s difficult to protect yourself again bad actors that are coming at you from all different angles.

Do I see a solution? Not an easy solution,” Perry said. “All of the health systems, including Banner, have multiple, multiple investments in protection. But again, moving at the speed that the people that are working on the other side of this in the dark corners of the world, I think we’ve got a long way to go before we figure out how we keep ourselves safer every day.”

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders.