Security vulnerabilities are a concern for everyone in this day and age when it seems there’s a major security incident in the news each week. And unfortunately, health care entities have been specifically targeted for their sensitive, monetizable information.
Over the past few years, millions of Americans have been impacted by breaches of health insurance companies’ databases -- including my own health information. Paralyzing cyber attacks on hospitals have used ransomware to lock providers out of EHRs until a ransom payment is made.
According to experts, it is inevitable that there will be successful medical device hacking with the proliferation of connected medical devices. The industry is gearing up to prevent cybersecurity incidents involving these medical devices. Fortunately, no known cases to date have caused patient harm, according to Zach Rothstein, Associate VP at the Advanced Medical Technology Association.
So, does the risk of converting to more cloud-based medical technology outweigh the benefits of such a system? You may be surprised to learn that even traditional printers and fax machines used by hospitals can present security vulnerabilities, for example:
- Unauthorized viewing of PHI by unintended recipients — with cloud-based technology, there is no risk of leaving papers and documents somewhere unsecured.
- Traditional fax machines and printers have memory that may contain unsecured, previously transmitted fax data.
- Outdated fax transmission encryption protocols lead to greater attack vulnerability.
- Where internet fax services are used, hospitals will need a signed Business Associate Agreement ensuring proper physical, administrative, and technical safeguards are in place to secure their patient information.
IDC Health Insights predicts that by 2020, nearly 80% of healthcare data will pass through the cloud. These systems offer immense benefits to healthcare providers, who can save precious time during the most critical moments of care.
With the proper research and security measures, cloud-based technologies can be a safe, secure solution that improves quality of care. Find out what your hospital must do to incorporate secure, state-of-the-art technology into your communications infrastructure.