The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), a non-profit, federally-recognised standards development organisation and accrediting body for organisations that electronically exchange healthcare data, and the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (NH-ISAC) announced in a press release that the two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
“We are very excited to partner with EHNAC on this important effort to advance the security of data as well as health and public health organisations,” said Denise Anderson, president of the NH-ISAC. “The healthcare sector is coming under increasing threat as can be seen in a number of incidents in the news. Bringing NH-ISAC’s and EHNAC’s expertise and communities together is a first step in helping to keep our members’ operations resilient and safe as well as protected.”
With the agreement, the two healthcare organisations intend to collaborate on initiatives supporting prevention and risk mitigation for HIPAA breaches, incidents and cybersecurity prevention, protection, response and recovery.
Future tactics from this collaboration will include educational materials, webinars and joint promotional opportunities including case studies, situational awareness intelligence, information sharing, sector and cross-sector impact analysis, incident response, as well as leading practice and workforce education from both organisations.
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The increased number and breadth of breaches, incidents and cyber-attacks have now reached epidemic proportions where no organisation, no matter how larger or small is immune.
Additionally, the number of HIPAA breaches and incidents has exponentially increased over the past three years. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, an outfit that educates the public about IT security threats and advises on best practice, more than 750 breaches were reported in 2015 through late December, exposing nearly 178 million records.
Through this collaboration, the organisations will also work to accelerate the adoption of secure, identity-validated health information exchange via the Direct standard, in support of Stage 2 Meaningful Use transitions of care and patient engagement, and for additional uses of Direct for secure and encrypted healthcare data and information exchanges.
“There is an urgent need to increase awareness and identify means of prevention for the seemingly endless string of headline-grabbing cyberattacks this past year. The unfortunate fact is that hacks have increasingly become a part of digital life — and no person or organisation is immune,” said Lee Barrett, executive director of EHNAC. “With the dedicated focus of our collaborative teams, NH-ISAC and EHNAC look to make great strides in effective awareness and prevention tactics to minimise the crippling impact of these cybersecurity attacks.”
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