According to CHIME, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, healthcare cybersecurity in 2015 will be a top priority; with the organization believing that the coming year will see a host of positive changes made that will address many of the cybersecurity issues currently being faced by the healthcare industry.
One of the main aims over the course of the next 12 months is to improve access to healthcare data for authorized individuals, while implementing a host of security controls that will prevent unauthorized accessing of that data. According to CHIME leaders, the technology required for this is already present. It is just a case of getting it to work properly.
This is where CHIME comes in. The organization is attempting to promote a number of best practices that can be adopted to protect healthcare data and it has also embarked upon an educational program to teach its members about the use of healthcare data, the controls that must be implemented, and the HIPAA Rules covering disclosure of PHI and patient privacy.
CHIME Highlights the Importance of Healthcare Cybersecurity in 2015
The Trustees Chair of CHIME has been taken for 2015 by Charles Christian. Christian has stated that there are two main issues that must be addressed by the healthcare industry in 2015. Cybersecurity is naturally a major concern given the current climate and high volume of HIPAA breaches being reported each month.
Christian has put forward the notion of splitting cybersecurity issues and having the Chief Information Officer deal with most day to day issues relating to privacy and security, but for a separate person to look after staff training. He believes that since training is such a critical area that is vital for the prevention of HIPAA breaches, the responsibility for training needs to be given to a dedicated cybersecurity training officer: Only then will the issue be able to be given the importance that it deserves.
It was the importance of cybersecurity that was the reason behind the creation of the Association for Executives in Healthcare Information Security (AEHIS). It was deemed to be the best way to ensure cybersecurity remained a major focus.
Patient Identification to be a Key Issue in 2015
Patient identification is also a key issue in 2015. There has been talk of new health plan identity schemes in recent months and there are fears that the current system may start to break down. Patients are now turning up at a wide variety of medical facilities for treatment and care. Christian pointed out that emergency rooms, for example, are no long only places where emergency medical care is solely provided. Due to pressure financial pressures on healthcare providers, emergency rooms are often used to provide primary medical care to patients. Being able to quickly and accurately identifying patients is now a critical issue.
Christian says that the “chain of care” is getting longer, and there are more healthcare professionals that now need to access healthcare data. “Keeping track of and marrying up all of that data is essential, but there is a lot of scope for errors to be made and this will become even more of an issue as time goes on.”
The healthcare industry must also deal with the upcoming reporting requirements of Meaningful Use Stage 2; the latter being a major challenge but one that must be solved in order to continue qualifying for EHR incentives.