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CHIME Launches New Cybersecurity Center and Program Office

The College of Healthcare Information Executives (CHIME) has announced the opening of a new Cybersecurity Center and Program Office which will help healthcare organizations deal with cyber threats and better protect patient data and information systems.

Announcing the opening of the new office, CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell explained the need for better collaboration within the healthcare industry. “Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and more dangerous every day.” He went on to say, “Today the focus is ransomware, tomorrow it will be something else. As an industry, we need to pull together and share what’s working so that we can effectively safeguard our systems and protect patients.”

The new office will be manned by CHIME staff, although assistance will be sought from Association for Executives in Healthcare Information Security (AEHIS) members, who will serve as security advisors to the center as well as to the healthcare industry.

The Cybersecurity Center and Program Office will develop a range of resources to help healthcare organizations develop better cybersecurity defenses to deal with increasingly sophisticated and varied cyber threats.

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Data security best practices will be developed using information from within the healthcare industry and from outside sources. By adopting these best practices, healthcare organizations will be able to improve their security posture and make it harder for cybercriminals to gain access to systems and patient data.

Last week, CHIME Board Member and Chief Information Officer at Intermountain Healthcare, Marc Probst, gave a testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in which he explained that it is essential to coordinate the efforts of federal programs to improve information sharing on the latest cybersecurity threats. He also explained the importance of spreading cybersecurity best practices as this will help the industry improve network defenses and better protect against the latest cyber threats.

According to Symantec Corporation’s Health Information Technology Officer and CHIME board member David Finn, “It is absolutely critical that we have collaboration across the industry.” The new cybersecurity office plans to build on existing relationships and will improve collaboration between healthcare organizations and federal agencies.

While information sharing is essential, it is vital that information is accessible and easily understood, as Finn explains, “if data can’t be turned into useful intelligence, there is no real advantage to sharing.”

CHIME will gather and distribute useful and valuable information to healthcare organizations that will allow them to better strengthen data security. Finn added, “We need to have clear direction on how to protect information across the continuum of care. It is like a chain; the strength of our security is only as good as the weakest link.”

Author: Steve Alder is the editor-in-chief of HIPAA Journal. Steve is responsible for editorial policy regarding the topics covered on HIPAA Journal. He is a specialist on healthcare industry legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA and other related legal topics. Steve has developed a deep understanding of regulatory issues surrounding the use of information technology in the healthcare industry and has written hundreds of articles on HIPAA-related topics.