Protect Our Health by Protecting our Healthcare

by ih-coc admin

Our healthcare system, while far from perfect, is an absolute necessity for living. It would make sense then to be sure that it was well-protected. 

Unfortunately, this is often not the case. As we have seen over and over again, database breaches are more common in the healthcare industry than anywhere else. We’re not just experiencing a loss of data, but a loss of trust as well. How can people live their lives and stay safe from data theft at the same time?

HIPAA Compliance

It starts with a set of rules. Such a set has already been put together: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). But rules are meaningless if no one is following them. According to the HIPAA journal, breaches in patient records during 2018 doubled to more than 13 million records. This is unacceptable - both from a patient standpoint and a legal one. And it’s only going to get worse as technology grows.

Data Breaches and Technology

Our healthcare technology has improved in leaps and bounds since the 1990’s. This is terrific. The average lifespan of Americans has also increased thanks to amazing breakthroughs and wearable devices like smart inhalers and insulin pens. Patients can have their glucose levels monitored from almost anywhere. We have remote MRI machines and smart beds. These are all helpful things. They greatly improve our quality of life. 

But what happens when all of these terrific inventions are used for ill purpose? 

Each of these devices works because they’re connected in some way shape or form to a database. Every patient uploads a massive amount of data about themselves whenever they’re used. Then, attackers breach these databases, access patients records, steal them and sell them on the dark web. In countries like the U.S., attackers from anywhere in the world can access expensive medical services, products, and drugs with the help of stolen medical records. The healthcare sector has proven to be extremely profitable for attackers, with a single record costing an average of $408.

 Data Breaches and Ransomware

It’s not always about buying, selling, and manipulating patient data. Disturbingly often, it’s about holding hospitals hostage to fund criminals, political actors abroad and even terrorism. That might sound like an extremely bold declaration, but it’s an unfortunate and well-known truth. Ransomware attacks account for 85% of all the cyber-attacks on the healthcare sector. In one example which we mention in a previous article, Indiana-based healthcare system, Hancock Health, was hit by a ransomware attack that completely locked down all of their computers. In many instances, those computers were depended upon for keeping critical hospital systems running. They felt they had no choice but to pay the ransom in order to keep their patients safe. That attack had cost the company about $55,000 in Bitcoin.

It was a risky move either way. Historically, only 19% of ransomware victims who pay the ransom actually get their files back. And the worst part is, that money goes to places that are in no way good.

Our healthcare system is possibly the most important institution in our country. It definitely has its flaws, but it’s literally what keeps us alive. The absolute least we can do is follow the rules that were originally put in place to protect it. We’re here to help you make sense of those rules.  Call us today at 800-733-6379 to schedule a free, initial consultation.