Attention all healthcare organizations: In case you haven’t noticed, your data is under siege from increasingly prevalent and sophisticated threats.
Cyber-attacks aimed at stealing protected health information (PHI) are currently popping up all over the country, the most recent examples being attacks on the State of Vermont and the Montana Health Department. Hackers were able to generate breaches involving more than 1.3 million individuals in those two cases.
In my role as a steering committee member for the Medical ID Fraud Alliance (MIFA), I’ve been deeply involved in collaborating with some of the industry’s most esteemed experts in this space. It’s been very interesting to have a front row seat as this disturbing trend unfolds and defenses are being planned.
According to MIFA, the spike in medical ID theft we’re seeing is driven by the lucrative business of healthcare fraud. In fact, MIFA estimates half of all healthcare fraud is directly tied to medical identity theft. And yet, the public remains largely unaware of the problem!
Earlier this year, MIFA announced it is gearing up for an expanded role in addressing medical ID theft and fraud by launching several new initiatives. I spend most days working with organizations striving to become and remain HIPAA-HITECH compliant. So I see firsthand the wide range of threats challenging privacy and security of PHI.
That’s why I’m so excited about the work MIFA has embarked upon, and the organization’s commitment to mobilize the healthcare ecosystem, empower new solutions, further educate key stakeholders and enable individuals to be the first line of defense in protecting their health information. It takes third-party organizations like MIFA to rally an industry and drive the collaboration and partnership required to respond to our biggest challenges in a collective fashion.
If you are a professional tasked with securing PHI within your organization, I encourage you to learn more about MIFA by visiting http://medidfraud.org/.
I also highly recommend reading my colleague Greg Bassett’s recent blog post, outlining 5 key steps for preventing PHI hacks.
It’s time to stop getting hacked and start fighting back. Do you know where to start?
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