Cybersecurity: How health execs handle growing privacy threat [Special Report]

By Dan Bowman and Katie Dvorak

Cybersecurity in healthcare is easier said than done, something both Franklin, Tennessee-based provider Community Health Systems and Anthem, the nation's second-largest health insurer, know all too well. In 2014, CHS--which operates 206 hospitals in 29 states--fell victim to hackers, compromising personal information for 4.5 million patients.

More recently, a hack of a database for Anthem put personal information for 80 million current and former customers at risk, which to date is the largest known breach of data by a healthcare entity.

The fallout from such breaches can be devastating. Early estimates for both the CHS and Anthem breaches put costs north of $100 million. Legally, breached entities face potential class-action lawsuits and multiyear compliance plans.

Additionally, consumer trust, the bedrock for provider and payer relationships with patients, evaporates following such instances.

In this special report, FierceHealthIT examines what hospital providers and health payers currently are doing to prevent data breaches, as well as what they should be doing. We also speak to attorneys and patient advocates to gain a better understanding of the cybersecurity challenges that lie ahead in healthcare.