Health system survey to 'paint true picture' of cyberinformation sharing gaps

Harris Health System, which last fall was awarded a $150,000 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant to help improve cybersecurity, is urging healthcare organizations to take part in a survey about the state of cyberinformation sharing.

"This survey is important to the healthcare community because it helps us paint the true picture of the current gaps that exist in sharing cyberinformation across the sector," Jeffrey Vinson, chief information security officer at the Houston-based organization, tells

Organizations involved with direct patient care, health plans, pharmaceutical companies, laboratories, blood banks, public health agencies and others are urged to get involved. The survey is available online. HHS is expected to release survey results on Sept. 30.

"As we try to understand the threats that are happening out there, we need to understand how to better protect these organizations," Vinson says. "That's part of what this grant will be doing. This will allow us to collaborate nationally across multiple healthcare organizations and partners and figure out what we need to do to better protect the information that we have."

The project aims to examine the various ways that healthcare organizations are being attacked, the technologies being used to detect and thwart such attacks and the gaps in threat information sharing.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama touted a cybersecurity plan that calls for the private sector to share its cyberthreat information with the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which would pass that information along to other federal agencies and private-sector operated Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations.

To learn more:
- here's the article
- take the survey