Technology a catalyst for top health industry safety, security efforts

Of 50 initiatives highlighted on CSO's annual list of groundbreaking safety and security efforts, 11 are endeavors in the healthcare industry, with eight of those recognized in the top 20.

In particular, four efforts were among the top 10 on the list, including:

  • Aetna's trusted email program (No. 4 overall): Authentication for outbound email, paired with a domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC) policy helped the insurance giant drastically mitigate the risk of abuse originating from emails seemingly sent to customers from Aetna, CSO notes. Within the first three days of the DMARC controls being enabled, 188,000 emails were blocked from delivery; after 45 days, that number jumped to 597,000 emails.
  • Atlantic Health System's securing of nuclear and radiological materials (No. 5 overall): The Morristown, N.J.-based health system is using advanced technology--in partnership with the National Nuclear Security Administration's Global Threat Reduction Initiative and Domestic Threat Reduction Program--to keep its radioactive materials safe from the threats of theft or detonation, according to CSO. Technology used includes a radiation detection system, remote monitoring systems, duress alarms and intrusion/tamper detection systems. Of 12 test attempts to access Atlantic's cancer center HDR room and laboratory blood irradiator locations since 2013, zero have been successful.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Montana and Oklahoma's use of big data visualization to detect cyberthreats (No. 9 overall): BCBS, in 2014, used operational intelligence software to boost its advanced threat detection efforts. According to CSO, BCBS has been able to mine historical data to weed out "previously unknown" cyberthreats.
  • BCBS of North Carolina's social media efforts (No. 10 overall): In looking to take advantage of social media to push out its brand, the health insurance company worried about both data loss and network utilization, CSO reports. To that end, BCBS of North Carolina used technology updates and employee education efforts to ensure its strategy would have staying power.

Additionally, Dallas-based Texas Health Resources--whose cybersecurity efforts are led by Chief Information Security Officer Ron Mehring, a FierceHealthIT Editorial Advisory Board member--also was recognized at No. 37 for its healthcare-centered threat management initiative. For the effort, Mehring and his team detect cyberthreats via "applied key … management concepts."

Despite these and other efforts, cybersecurity remains a critical threat to the healthcare industry. Case in point, Anthem, in the wake of a notorious hacking incident in which information for 80 million current and former customers was compromised, faces costs that could extend beyond $100 million.

To learn more:
- here's the CSO piece

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