HHS Releases Voluntary Cybersecurity Practices for the Health Industry

doctor-cyberattackOn Friday, December 28, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released:  “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients” [PDF]. The publication, aims to provide voluntary cybersecurity practices to healthcare organizations of all types and sizes, ranging from local clinics to large hospital systems.

The industry-led effort was in response to a mandate set forth by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 Section 405(d), to develop practical cybersecurity guidelines to cost-effectively reduce cybersecurity risks for the healthcare industry. The publication marks the culmination of a two-year effort that brought together over 150 cybersecurity and healthcare experts from industry and the government under the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Public-Private Partnership.

The HICP publication aims to provide cybersecurity practices for this vast, diverse, and open sector to ultimately improve the security and safety of patients. It explores the five most relevant and current threats to the industry and recommends ten Cybersecurity Practices to help mitigate these threats. The document presents real-life events and statistics that demonstrate the financial and patient care impacts of cyber incidents. It also lays out a call to action for all industry stakeholders, from C-suite executives and healthcare practitioners to IT security professionals, that protective and preventive measures must be taken now. The publication also includes two technical volumes geared for IT and IT security professionals. Technical Volume 1 focuses on cybersecurity practices for small healthcare organizations, while Technical Volume 2 focuses on practices for medium and large healthcare organizations. The last volume provides resources and templates that organizations can leverage to assess their own cybersecurity posture as well develop policies and procedures.

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