Cybersecurity is the biggest priority and challenge for health systems, leaders say


In a video from the Top of Mind 2019 Summit, a panel of health system IT leaders discuss their views of cybersecurity in health care


Vulnerability is higher for health data as cybersecurity spending has been historically lower in health care than in other industries. As a result, cyber criminals continue to target the health care industry for its valuable data.

With the number of data breaches increasing every year since 2010, health system leaders are highly focused on cybersecurity and acting to combat the problem. One action health systems are taking is devoting a bigger part of their IT budgets to cybersecurity, said Gary Bisbee Jr., PhD, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of The Health Management Academy.

A survey of health system IT leaders conducted by The Health Management Academy in partnership with the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) found that nearly 90 percent of health systems were planning to boost spending on cybersecurity in 2019. The survey findings were discussed at the CCM’s Top of Mind 2019 Summit during a panel moderated by Bisbee and featuring three IT executives from health systems.

“Cybersecurity is much more than someone attacking a server,” said Chris Carmody, Senior Vice President of the Information Services Division at UPMC. Hackers are increasingly targeting clinicians directly via phishing attacks, which means cybersecurity also must be top of the mind for care providers.

Another important consideration is the multitude of devices that are increasingly connected to hospital IT networks, said Michael Kramer, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer at OhioHealth. Some of those devices may not be secure, presenting a vulnerability that IT leaders must defend against.

Dr. Kramer said OhioHealth and other health systems are rigorously reviewing any devices that are connected to their networks. Many systems also are preventing full network access by segmenting their networks as a precaution.

Increased budgets are going toward restructuring or growing the cybersecurity function within organizations and investing in resources for both staff and technology.

“You look at your organization as (either) you’ve had a breach, or you’re going to have a breach,” said Sherri Hess, Chief Nursing Information Officer at Banner Health.

Top of Mind 2019 survey:

Read more findings from the Top of Mind 2019 research by downloading the full report. The free report provides insights from health system leaders on three top IT priorities in health care: Cybersecurity, Telehealth, and Interoperability.

See more videos from the Top of Mind 2019 Summit:

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