The healthcare industry has become a frequent target for cybercrime. Criminals hope to acquire data that can be sold or used as blackmail through attacks on hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic centers, and more. The consequences of attacks such as these go beyond the theft of information, placing the organization’s operational and clinical practices at stake. The poor state of healthcare cybersecurity has enabled these crimes to put countless lives at risk.
Why Cybersecurity Is Important in Healthcare
In 2019, organizations within the healthcare industry fell victim to 525 data breaches, which accounted for more than 30% of all cybercrime for that year. The number has drastically increased each year since then. Better cybersecurity should be a high priority for hospitals and other healthcare organizations.
- The medical sector is vulnerable to a high number of cyber-attacks due in part to the wealth of high-value data such as intellectual property from medical research and patients’ financial information, personally identifying information, and protected health information.
- Stolen health records are worth far more on the black market than stolen credit cards, leading cyber criminals to target healthcare organizations.
- Mitigation costs for data breaches run nearly three times the cost of other professions.
- Cyber-attacks put the privacy of patients at risk, which could result in HIPAA violations for the organization.
- Patient care and safety are jeopardized by cybercrime when access to medical records or devices is held hostage or when data is lost or altered.
How Does Cybersecurity Help Healthcare?
Increased healthcare cybersecurity can provide a number of important benefits to organizations in the medical sector, including the following:
- Accelerated Patient Care: Electronic patient records enable doctors to act quickly with treatment, but disruptions due to cybercrime can cause delays. Reliable cybersecurity measures ensure that medical data systems work quickly, safely, and appropriately.
- Improved Protection for Patient Privacy: Patient data is governed by strict regulations that cyber criminals can circumvent, causing problems such as exposed addresses and insurance information. Cybersecurity measures enable healthcare organizations to honor their obligation to protect patient privacy.
- Reduced Risk of Errors: Electronic healthcare records make patient care more reliable, but there is inherent risk when cybersecurity is lacking. By implementing strong cybersecurity, records are secured, and patients are protected.
- Safer Adoption of New Technology: Some organizations are hesitant to adopt new technology because they are afraid of becoming more vulnerable to the increased wave of cybercrime. Cybersecurity can alleviate these worries and enable medical facilities to take advantage of emerging technology.
- Secure Operation of Devices: Connected technology is the wave of the future in healthcare, with interconnections enabling efficient and quick operation. However, an increased number of endpoints means an increased amount of vulnerability. The safe use of medical devices depends on a healthcare cybersecurity system that can ensure their integrity.