More than 80% of healthcare IT leaders say their systems have been compromised.

“More concerning, 16% of healthcare organizations said they cannot detect in real-time if their systems are compromised,” the report said.

Malware, which is designed to disrupt or gain access to private computer systems, was the most frequently reported line of attack during the past 12 to 24 months, according to 65% of survey respondents. Botnet attacks, where computers are hijacked to issue spam or attack other systems, and “internal” attack vectors, such as employees compromising security, were cited by 26% of respondents.

The areas with the greatest vulnerabilities within an organization include external attackers (65%), sharing data with third parties (48%), employee breaches (35%), wireless computing (35%) and inadequate firewalls (27%).

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“The vulnerability of patient data at the nation’s health plans and approximately 5,000 hospitals is on the rise and health care executives are struggling to safeguard patient records,” Michael Ebert, who runs KPMG’s Healthcare & Life Sciences Cyber Practice, said in a statement. “Patient records are far more valuable than credit card information for people who plan to commit fraud, since the personal information cannot be easily changed.”

KPMG listed five main reasons healthcare organizations are facing increased security threats:

  • The adoption of digital patient records and the automation of clinical systems.
  • The use of antiquated electronic medical records (EMRs) and clinical applications that are not designed to securely operate in today’s networked environment — and software vendors who push that problem to the provider.
  • The ease of distributing electronic personal health information both internally (via laptops, mobile devices, thumb drives) and externally (third party firms and cloud services).
  • The heterogeneous nature of networked systems and applications (i.e. network-enabled respirator pumps on the same network as registration systems that can browse the Internet).
  • The evolving threat landscape, where cyberattacks today are more sophisticated and well-funded, given the increased value of the compromised data on the black market.

IMHO, there is no such thing as healthcare privacy.  What a sad world we live in where the physician patient relationship has a third party present at all times.

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