HITRUST moves to help healthcare fight cyber-crime

Healthcare organizations have a new partner in fighting cyber-attacks: The Health Information Trust Alliance has launched a Cybersecurity Incident Response and Coordination Center to share information about cyber-security, provide early identification of attacks, coordinate responses and share best practices in dealing with threats.

For now, the core of the program includes 14 payer and provider organizations with assistance from the Department of Health & Human Services, although it will also share information with the healthcare industry at large, HITRUST said in an announcement.

The group will focus on cyber-security threats and events targeted at healthcare organizations in areas including networks, mobile devices, workstations, servers and medical devices.

"Cyber attacks are an increasing concern for every organization," Roy Mellinger, vice president and chief information security officer at Indianapolis-based Wellpoint, one of the 14 participating organizations, said in a statement. Collaborating with the government and other healthcare organizations is an "important component" of Wellpoint's cyber-security strategy, he added.

"As the healthcare industry continues its conversion process to full patient electronic medical records, it will most certainly become a more frequent target of cyber-security attacks, and having such a system in place in the near future will be key to collaboratively responding and preventing such attacks," said Jorge DeCesare, chief data security administrator of Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West) in San Francisco, which is also taking part in the program.

As FierceHealthIT reported last week, the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board has warned that medical devices such as insulin pumps are at increased risk of cybersecurity breaches, putting millions of patients at risk of significant harm.

To learn more:
- see the HITRUST announcement
- read the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board letter about cybercrime

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