According to the Identify Theft Resource Center, more than 850 data breaches—resulting in fraudulent access to nearly 30 million personal records—were reported in 2016. The same report lists the medical and healthcare industry as one of the most cyberattacked industries, having seen more than 300 breaches that resulted in access to more than 14.4 million records in 2016 alone.1 With numbers like these, it's clear that the healthcare industry is facing security pressures from every angle, and that the American public is feeling pressure too. According to a recent online survey from University of Phoenix® College of Information Systems and Technology conducted by Harris Poll, more than half of Americans (52 percent) feel less cyber secure today than they did five years ago.2
As technology advances and new systems are put in place, it's up to leaders across the industry to help change these numbers. Though technology and cybersecurity trainings have become somewhat of a staple across the health industry, too often we see key messages and practices misused or avoided entirely. Here are three ways to help ensure our professionals have the skills needed to keep healthcare networks safe:
Make hard skills training a priority
According to the recent University of Phoenix® College of Information Systems and Technology survey, nearly half (43 percent) of Americans feel that both public and private companies should combat cybercrime by offering increased training to their employees. Yet, according to the same online survey, only 23 percent of Americans feel their business or employer is very prepared to address a cyberattack.3
Within our healthcare system, 90 percent of registered nurses and 88 percent of hospital administration staff indicated that their facilities should focus on preparing them with leadership and management skills. Significantly fewer indicated that their facility currently does an effective job of doing so (62 percent, 74 percent), according to a University of Phoenix® College of Health Professions School of Health Services Administration survey conducted by Harris Poll.4
To address this gap, it's up to our leaders, across industries, to put in place processes and opportunities for continuous cybersecurity education and training.
Integrate cybersecurity into company culture
A one-off staff training may be helpful but is not enough to ingrain best cyber practices. Companies and health systems that offer brown bag sessions, mentorship programs, internal contests and positive social media messaging are better situated to integrate technology and security skills into everyday learning for their employees.
We know that our healthcare workers believe in these practices and see the value in becoming more involved. Hospital administrative staff (68 percent) have indicated that technology skills are essential to staying relevant in healthcare, according to the survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix® College of Health Professions School of Health Services Administration.5 It's now on all of us as leaders to implement these programs and empower healthcare professionals to have the skills they need for the future.
Make it personal
Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) say they have experienced a personal data breach.6 If you can tie your cybersecurity strategy back to personal experiences, making training more relatable and tangible, professionals across industries can gain a deeper understanding of how to stay safe in an increasingly digital world. In training sessions, make ties to personal and family security best practices, walking through real-life scenarios and team-building exercises.
The faculty at both University of Phoenix College of Health Professions and College of Information Systems and Technology are working together to ensure the next generation of healthcare professionals is actively engaged in the development of cybersecurity strategies, and is poised to deliver the highest quality of patient care.