Cybersecurity for healthcare providers is getting worse, and the healthcare industry has issues to resolve. All industries have had to contend with a growing number of cyber attacks. Likewise, the healthcare industry has faced a particularly significant spike in incidents over the past two years. This problem has become a virtual epidemic necessitating profound operational changes and enhanced cybersecurity initiatives.

Cybersecurity for Healthcare Providers: Preventative Steps

Here are some key things that insurance providers should know about this mounting threat to help their clients in the healthcare field protect themselves and their patients.

Understanding the Scope of Risk of Cybersecurity for Healthcare Providers

Hospitals and doctors’ offices may not seem like they would be an attractive target to cyber criminals. In reality, medical facilities are an ideal target for attacks. They store many individuals’ personal information, so infiltrating a hospital’s network can give criminals data they can use to commit identity theft.

Patient data contains information that falls under the protection of HIPPA laws, so hospitals’ liability for cyber healthcare attacks may be far more severe than that of a traditional business. Furthermore, data loss could hinder providers’ ability to administer care.

Examining the Increased Frequency and Severity of Attacks

Many cyber attacks in healthcare originate from sources outside of the United States. In November 2021, federal authorities issued an urgent warning to providers sounding the alarm about Iranian-backed attacks seeking to weaken this crucial part of the nation’s infrastructure. In 2022, Russian-based organizations advanced their efforts to target medical providers with ransomware.

If a facility suddenly cannot access its database, operations could come to a screeching halt. In this context, ransomware attacks can leave lives hanging in the balance. Providers may determine they must give in to extortionists’ demands to avert imminent risk to patients’ lives and safety.

Mitigating Liability Risks

How does cybersecurity help healthcare organizations avoid liability if they cannot prevent a breach? A breach may not necessarily result in liability if an organization can secure its data and network infrastructure. Developing and enforcing a comprehensive security plan consistent with the industry’s best practices may effectively counter negligence claims.

Likewise, medical practitioners must take prompt remedial measures after cyber healthcare breaches. New laws govern how quickly organizations must inform parties who a breach has affected, so providers should ensure they have adequate resources to comply with these regulations.

As hospitals and other care providers have become more reliant on technology in their day-to-day activities, this shift has made them more vulnerable to cyber breaches. A typical breach can cause millions of dollars in losses and liability for healthcare providers. Unfortunately, this growing problem is likely to precipitate increases in operational expenses and insurance costs. Organizations must stay vigilant and adaptive to address this pervasive threat.