Part One: The Risks of Cybersecurity in the Health System

Protecting Healthcare Data in the Age of Telehealth: Triage Explores OCR’s Cybersecurity Recommendations

In a two-part Triage series, Gina Bertolini, Sarah Carlins, and Jianne McDonald delve into two recent initiatives by the Department of Health and Human Services that tackle cybersecurity risks faced by hospitals and health systems across the nation. Over the past five years, cybersecurity incidents involving healthcare providers have seen a significant increase. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within HHS reported a nearly 300% surge in large data breaches involving ransomware from 2018 to 2022. With interoperability being a key government priority and remote care models gaining popularity, the demand for big data to support complex technologies poses ongoing risks to healthcare providers.

In the first part of the series, Sarah Carlins and Jianne McDonald examine recent recommendations by OCR for healthcare providers and patients regarding cybersecurity measures in telehealth. They also discuss the federal government’s emphasis on effective communication about the privacy and security of electronic health information as essential for quality care in telehealth settings.

Healthcare providers are increasingly under attack from cybercriminals seeking to access sensitive patient data. This has led to an increase in large data breaches involving ransomware from 2018 to 2022, according to OCR within HHS. As telehealth becomes more popular, there is a growing demand for big data to support complex technologies, which poses ongoing risks to healthcare providers.

The federal government is taking steps to address these risks through recommendations by OCR for healthcare providers and patients regarding cybersecurity measures in telehealth settings. Effective communication about the privacy and security of electronic health information is essential for quality care in telehealth settings, as Sarah Carlins and Jianne McDonald discuss in detail in this Triage series part one.

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