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Blog | Risk Management

Healthcare News of Note: Healthcare cybersecurity professionals are unsure they have enough resources

Blog | Risk Management

Healthcare News of Note: Healthcare cybersecurity professionals are unsure they have enough resources

  • Cybersecurity professionals in the healthcare space are among the least confident that their organizations have the resources needed to respond to cyber incidents during the next few years.
  • The nationwide 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which launched in July, saw call volumes increase in all states but two when comparing data from August 2022 to the same month in 2021, when a previous version of the hotline was in operation.
  • U.S. hospitals claimed most of the top spots on the second-annual list of the “World’s Best Smart Hospitals” as compiled by Newsweek and Statista and published in September.

Over the last few weeks, I have found these industry news stories that should be of interest to healthcare finance professionals.    

1. Healthcare lacks confidence in having the necessary cybersecurity resources

Cybersecurity professionals in the healthcare space are among the least confident that their organizations have “the tools and people” needed “to respond to cyber incidents during the next two to three years,” according to an (ISC)2 “2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study.”

Overall, the report predicts a “global cybersecurity workforce gap of 3.4 million people” in 2022, up from 2.7 million in 2021.

“While the cybersecurity workforce is growing rapidly, demand is growing even faster,” wrote the report authors. “(ISC)2’s cybersecurity workforce gap analysis revealed that despite adding more than 464,000 workers in the past year, the cybersecurity workforce gap has grown more than twice as much as the workforce with a 26.2% year-over-year increase, making it a profession in dire need of more people.”

The gap almost ensures all industries will find it impossible to fully bolster their cybersecurity ranks in the next few years.

“Hospitals face this challenge at a time when resources to respond are scarce,” according to the November hfm magazine cover story titled “Healthcare’s cybersecurity stakes reach alarming levels.”

The story quotes John Riggi, national adviser for cybersecurity and risk for the American Hospital Association, as saying: “Ideally, we would like to obtain a utopian state where we are completely safe from cyberattacks. But that state will never occur. No organization will ever be 100% immune from cyberattacks. And one of the big challenges healthcare faces in defending against cyberattacks is a severe shortage of cybersecurity professionals. We in healthcare, along with every critical infrastructure sector and the U.S. government, are competing for a very limited pool of trained cybersecurity professionals.”

According to the (ISC)2 report, when it comes to survey respondents agreeing “that their organization has the tools and people needed to respond to cybersecurity incidents over the next two to three years”:

  • The least confident industries include military/military contractor (50%), healthcare (47%), education (47%), aerospace (43%) and government (42%).
  • The most confident industries are security software/hardware development (66%), construction (65%), food/beverage/hospitality/travel (65%), retail/wholesale (65%) and IT services (61%).

2. 28% more people used the new national 988 crisis line in its launch month

Although the nationwide 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which launched in July, “is keeping up with demand in terms of outreach volume, wait times, and answer rates,” states that lack long-term funding strategies may not be able “to maintain their pace as demand increases,” according to an article published Oct. 17 by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

According to report author Heather Saunders: “13 states have enacted legislation for 988 sustainability through state general funds or telecommunications fees,” among other strategies.

Formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, “the federally mandated crisis number, 988, became available [July 16] to all landline and cell phone users, providing a single three-digit number to access a network of over 200 local and state funded crisis centers,” wrote Saunders.

Call volumes increased in nearly all states but decreased in West Virginia and North Dakota when comparing data from August 2022 to the same month in 2021, before 988 implementation, according to Saunders. “Some projections predict that this growth may continue and the total volume of calls, text messages, and chats could double or triple by the end of the first year,” she added.

Key findings

Findings from the KFF analysis, which compares national and state-level Lifeline performance metrics month over month and year over year, include:

  • There was a 28% increase in calls, texts and chats in July 2022, the month that 988 was implemented, compared to the month before. The growth slowed in August, to a 2% increase.
  • Comparing August 2021 to August 2022, the combined number of calls, texts and chats increased by more than 112,000, or 45%.
  • Of the year-over-year increase, the majority — more than 84,000 — were calls, and the number of texts increased from 5,276 to 40,627, but chat volume decreased by 10%. (The analysts surmised the decrease might have been “because text communication is preferred over chat.”)

3. Mayo Clinic tops global list of ‘best smart hospitals’

U.S. hospitals claimed most of the top spots on the second-annual list of the “World’s Best Smart Hospitals” as compiled by Newsweek and Statista and published in September.

The list ranks hospitals based on their use of AI, digital imaging, telemedicine, robotics and electronic functionalities.

Mayo Clinic’s Rochester, Minnesota campus ranks first, followed in the top five by Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston), The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore), Cleveland Clinic and The Mount Sinai Hospital (New York City).

The rest of the top 10 includes Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston), MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York City), Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset (Sweden) and Houston Methodist Hospital.

The list totals 300 hospitals spanning 28 countries, with the U.S. taking 87 places. Other countries with at least 10 hospitals in the rankings are Germany (23), the United Kingdom (20), France (18), Italy (18), Canada (15), Japan (13), South Korea (13), Spain (11) and Switzerland (11).

— Nick Hut, HFMA senior editor

HFMA bonus content

Read the November issue of hfm magazine: HFMA Board Chair Aaron Crane describes “Poker lessons for healthcare finance,” and HFMA president and CEO Joe Fifer writes about “Adopting a health equity lens.”

Listen to the Voices in Healthcare Finance podcast episode “How a new structure in the C-suite can drive innovation,” with Peyman Zand, a vice-president at CereCore, and podcast host Erika Grotto.

About the Author

Deborah Filipek

is a senior editor with HFMA in Downers Grove, Ill. 

Sign up for a free guest account and get access to five free articles every month.

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