Cyber threats to health care businesses are constantly changing and posing a threat to patient safety.

FREMONT, CA: Health care businesses are constantly confronted with increasing cyberthreats that might jeopardize patient safety. It is vital to prioritize cybersecurity as patient safety, enterprise risk, and strategic priority and to include it in the hospital's existing enterprise, risk management, governance, and business continuity frameworks.

Aligning cybersecurity and patient safety programs will assist a company secure patient safety and privacy and help assure the continued delivery of compelling, high-quality care by limiting interruptions that could negatively influence clinical outcomes.

Health care institutions are particularly vulnerable to the targets of cyberattacks due to a large amount of information they contain that is valuable in monetary and intelligence terms to cybercriminals and nation-state actors. Protected health information (PHI) of patients, financial information such as credit card and bank account details, personally identifying information (PII) such as Social Security numbers, and intellectual property relating to medical research and innovation are all targeted data.

Indeed, stolen health records may trade on the dark web for up to ten times the price of stolen credit card numbers. Unfortunately for health care firms, the bad news does not end there; the cost of resolving a breach in health care is nearly three times that of other industries, averaging $408 per stolen health care record against $148 each stolen non-health record.

Cyberattacks on electronic health records and other systems also risk patient privacy, as hackers gain access to protected health information (PHI) and other sensitive data. By failing to maintain the confidentiality of patient records, your organization may risk significant penalties under HIPAA's Privacy and Security Rules and potential damage to its reputation in the community.

Most significantly, patient safety and quality of care may potentially be threatened. Losing access to medical records and life-saving medical devices, as when a ransomware infection takes them captive, will jeopardize the capacity to care for your patients efficiently. Access to sensitive patient data allows hackers to steal the information and alter it, either purposefully or unintentionally, which could have a negative impact on patient health and outcomes.

Every waking moment, cybercriminals plan ways to breach cybersecurity procedures and controls. The best defense begins with the issue of cyber risk being elevated to the level of corporate and strategic risk management. Healthcare organizations should also designate at least one full-time employee to lead the information security program and prioritize that position. The individual has the necessary authority, prestige, and independence to be effective. Additionally, they and their team should receive regular updates on their organization's strategic cyber risk profile and how appropriate mitigation steps are being implemented dynamically to address the continuously shifting cyber risk.

Finally, the most critical protection is to develop a cybersecurity culture that prioritizes patient safety. This enables health care businesses to enhance their existing culture of patient care by instilling a cybersecurity culture. A cybersecurity culture in which employees regard themselves as proactive defenders of patients and their data will significantly reduce cyber risk to the firm and its patients.