HHS Funnels Funding Into Cybersecurity For Health Sector

October 10, 2016

A total of $350,000 in awards will help strengthen cybersecurity response in healthcare.

Cyberthreats in healthcare are an escalating and troublesome threat. From data breaches at Anthem or Banner Health to ransomware attacks like at Hollywood Presbyterian, healthcare providers are being hit hard by cybercriminals determined to profit from the wealth of valuable protected personal information handled by them on a daily basis. In fact, as Health IT Outcomes reported, healthcare continues to be the top cyber attack target, with almost 90 percent of ransomware attacks during the second quarter of 2016 affecting healthcare entities.

A recent Ponemon Institute study found the incidence of healthcare-related cyberattacks grew 125 percent between 2010 and 2015. Last year, 91 percent of healthcare organizations and 59 percent of affiliated businesses suffered a data breach, at an average cost of $3.8 million per attack.

To help the healthcare industry address this increasing threat, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a total of $350,000 in awards designed to strengthen the cybersecurity response across healthcare. According to the press release, these agreements will serve to “foster the development of a more vibrant cyber information sharing ecosystem within the healthcare and public health sector.”

Among the award are a cooperative agreement made by HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (NH-ISAC) of Ormond Beach, FL to provide cybersecurity information and education on cyber threats to healthcare sector stakeholders; and a cooperative agreement by HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to NH-ISAC to help build the infrastructure necessary to disseminate cyber threat information securely to healthcare partners.

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