The $1.1 trillion spending and tax extender bill that is on President Obama’s desk awaiting signature creates a healthcare industry cybersecurity task force, which must be established within 90 days of enactment.
This is important news since a recent report issued by the International Data Corporation forecasts that one in three consumers will have their health data compromised in the next year due to weak security measures. On top of that, the most recent Ponemon Institute report in May indicates that criminal attacks on healthcare providers are up a whopping 125 percent since 2010.
The proposed task force will study cyber threats, and how other industries combat cyber intrusions, as well as the challenges facing healthcare organizations in securing health information. Importantly, it also includes a provision to ensure that cyber threats are shared within the industry (similar to other industries) that can be accessed in real time and with no cost.
The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to work with the Department of Homeland Security and NIST to create voluntary guidelines and best practices for healthcare organizations. The goal is also to encourage healthcare organizations to share cyber threats and vulnerabilities so organizations can help each other and access information from the federal government and other industries.
This is good news for the healthcare industry. It needs all the help it can get in combating cyber intrusions, since 2015 goes down in history as seeing the four largest healthcare data breaches in history.