Preventing cyberattacks: Finding the right strategic partner

May 28, 2024
Health IT
Frank Forte
By Frank Forte

Despite years of efforts to stop it, the problem of cyberattacks in healthcare just seems to grow worse each year, with the latest ones grabbing world headlines in 2024.

Today, healthcare security breaches occur twice as often as they did in 2018, with two large healthcare data breaches reported each day on average in 2023, according to the HIPAA Journal.
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In 2023, there were 725 data breaches of more than 500 patient records reported to the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, a record-setting number. The growing prevalence of cyberattacks is evidence that many healthcare organizations are failing at basic security measures and are not consistently adhering to cybersecurity best practices due to a variety of factors that may include budgetary pressures, difficulty recruiting skilled IT security professionals, and confusion about the best measures to improve resilience to cyber threats, according to HIPAA Journal.

However, there is a positive effect of this explosion of cybercrime. The growing problem seems to have catalyzed the healthcare industry, furthering changes that began several years ago as providers balance increasing patient demand for digital tools and digital transformation with the effect of that demand on financial and staffing resources. As the importance and burdens of preventing cyberattacks grow, many providers are deciding that information technology (IT) needs are too much to manage by themselves.

Although this change may represent a shift in mentality for some providers, it may end up being among the most beneficial clinical and financial steps they take to secure privacy for their patients and financial security for themselves.

Rapid changes, growing needs
IT-managed-service partners have assisted physician practices and hospitals for decades, helping them manage equipment, update business and clinical software, and support clinicians and staff with tech problems.

More recently, however, the rapid pace of technological evolution in healthcare has created challenges for providers to keep up. For example, health systems and hospitals have endured massive disruptions as they evolved from paper files to electronic health records (EHRs), with some providers undergoing multiple installations. For example, in 2012, the two largest EHR vendors claimed 28% of hospital beds, but by 2021, they held 72% of those beds.

Additionally, the increasing use of smartphones, cloud computing, virtual care, and artificial intelligence has altered the IT landscape for patients and healthcare organizations.

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