Hospitals and health systems are making slow progress toward securing their networks and patient data, and this year’s HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey surfaced what many health care organizations are afraid of: cybersecurity threats are continuing to rise, with two thirds of organizations having experienced some sort of security incident but less than a tenth feel they have adequate technology to protect themselves against security threats.
Our software helps physicians communicate about patient care compliantly, so naturally we ask new customers what kinds of communication software they typically use. iMessage is the popular choice given its unparalleled ease of use and ubiquity. And while iMessage has some methods of encryption that make it tougher for attackers between you and Apple’s server to hack your data, it’s not a fool-proof or HIPAA-compliant way to share PHI. Physicians are too busy to use the clumsy, slow, feature-lacking secure messaging software that epitomizes most apps on the market, so most of them revert back to iMessage and claim that the government can fine them or put them in jail all they want. But we can’t afford to lose good doctors to the government, especially given the imminent doctor shortage!
If physicians are going to change their nonsecure texting behavior, they need to have a convenient and fast secure messaging app. Watching a wheel spin for 10 seconds to load a conversation each time would cause anyone to trash an app - and I’ve seen this firsthand on far too many messaging apps.
There are a variety of tools that go into protecting sensitive data against security threats, including antivirus, firewalls, data encryption, audit logs, and vulnerability management. With the increasing government changes, it’s more important than ever to empower health care organizations with the best security software.