A recent study that surveyed over 100 hospital CIOs indicated that 95 percent are concerned with the security of their patients’ data.
The survey, conducted by healthcare communications company, Spok, was administered in March 2017 to members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).
Cristin O’Brien, senior marketing manager at Spok, says it is no surprise that such a high percentage of CIOs are concerned with data being compromised. Survey data was collected on the heels of multiple large-scale attacks on healthcare systems in 2017.
Southern California is no stranger to these attacks. According to SCPR, at least four Southern California hospitals have had ransomware attacks in the past year-and-a-half.
Although many hospitals have taken necessary steps to add more protection to its patients’ information, they still struggle to keep up with hackers’ mounting sophistication.
“We are trying to do our best to stay current on a daily basis, as opposed to what used to be a past history of, ‘we’ll do updates when we get to them,’” says L.A. County-USC Medical Center CIO Oscar Autelli. “At this point we are as current as is possible with every vendor we have and we take great efforts to stay current on a very daily basis.”
Autelli says his hospital has an emergency plan in place for hacking but would not disclose specifics.
“It’s going to happen. We just want to make sure that we minimize the extent of the damage as quickly as possible.”
Employee Texting in Hospitals
Much of the study focused on the use of both personal devices and hospital-issued devices in healthcare facilities. More specifically, it outlined the dangers of texting on these devices.
The study found that 35 percent of hospitals supply secure texting only on hospital-issued devices.
This is a problem, says O’Brien, since often times physicians will text information between each other’s personal devices regarding patient care.
“You may have them in your personal contacts and so you can text them back and forth,” she says. “It’s a very convenient way of communicating.”
Other significant findings from the survey regarding security on employee mobile devices showed:
- 41 percent do not currently support HIPAA-compliant secure texting on any device but are planning to in the future
- 39 percent have secure texting only for personal devices (BYOD)
- 26 percent provide secure texting on both BYOD and hospital-issued devices