Unraveling the Risks: How HHS is Combatting Cybersecurity Threats in Healthcare Systems Through Policy Changes and Technology Advancements

Part One: The Risks of Cybersecurity in the Health System

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently introduced two initiatives aimed at addressing cybersecurity risks faced by hospitals and health systems across the nation. In a two-part Triage series, Gina Bertolini, Sarah Carlins, and Jianne McDonald delve into these initiatives and discuss the ongoing risks posed by big data to healthcare providers.

Over the past five years, there has been a significant increase in cybersecurity incidents involving healthcare providers. According to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within HHS, there was a nearly 300% surge in large data breaches involving ransomware from 2018 to 2022. With interoperability being a key government priority and remote care models gaining popularity, the demand for big data to support complex technologies poses ongoing risks to healthcare providers.

In the first part of the series, Sarah Carlins and Jianne McDonald examine recent recommendations by OCR for healthcare providers and patients regarding cybersecurity measures in telehealth. They also discuss the federal government’s emphasis on effective communication about the privacy and security of electronic health information as essential for quality care in telehealth settings.

The second part of the series focuses on HHS’s efforts to improve cybersecurity in healthcare systems through policy changes and technological advancements. Gina Bertolini provides insights into these initiatives and their potential impact on reducing cybersecurity risks in healthcare organizations. She also highlights some of the challenges faced by these organizations as they strive to protect sensitive patient data while also meeting regulatory requirements.

Overall, this Triage series sheds light on the ongoing efforts by HHS to address cybersecurity risks in healthcare systems. Through expert analysis and insightful discussions, it highlights both the challenges faced by these organizations and the potential solutions that can help mitigate these risks in an increasingly digital world.

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