Advances in technology now can connect patients to providers and providers to providers within minutes and even seconds, helping health care teams deliver safe, quality, and timely care. Though such advances have improved care delivery and organizational efficiency, this greater connectivity also increases exposure to potential cybersecurity threats.

From 2010 to 2016, the number of large-scale data breaches at American health care organizations increased 65%, according to reports from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights. Hospitals and health systems are taking action.

The AHA offers comprehensive cybersecurity resources and risk advisory services for hospital and health systems leaders. “What’s Your Cyber Risk Profile?” outlines 12 considerations for CEOs, including mapping network, data, and baseline network activity; prioritizing cybersecurity policies, procedures, and technical risks through the lens of impact to patient safety and delivery of care first; assessing the organization’s cybersecurity culture; and creating and updating a cyber-incident response plan. The AHA also offers customized strategic cybersecurity and risk advisory services and hospital leadership cybersecurity education from noted expert John Riggi.

It’s important for hospitals to make cybersecurity part of their existing governance, risk management, and business continuity framework, while also maintaining a flexible and resilient approach to address ever-evolving threats. You can find resources and more information on the Emerging Issues & Insights section of the AHA Center for Health Innovation website.

One last note: As heavy rains and flooding continue in the Southeast in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the care teams at local hospitals are working around-the-clock to care for those affected and keep patients safe. As AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack shared in his Perspective last Friday, we stand with you during this challenging time.