The rising number of cyber attacks on providers has prompted one of the industry’s organizations to develop a center that will collect and distribute best practices in security.

The College of Healthcare Information and Management Executives is developing the concept, hoping to gather current approaches in dealing with threats such as ransomware, the organization’s executives say.

In announcing the create of the CHIME Cybersecurity Center and Program Office, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based professional organization also hopes to build on its current relationships within the industry and draw in more expertise to address security issues.

David Finn
David Finn

“It is absolutely critical that we have collaboration across the industry,” says David Finn, a CHIME board member and health information technology officer at Symantec Corp. “We talk frequently about sharing cyber data, but if that data isn’t meaningful to those receiving it, and if data can’t be turned into useful intelligence, there is no real advantage to sharing.”

CHIME says its cybersecurity center will pull from resources both inside the industry and in other industries, to develop best practices. CHIME executives say they also will build on existing partnerships with federal agencies and other organizations.

Members of CHIME, as well as the CHIME-sponsored Association for Executives in Healthcare Information Security (AEHIS) are expected to serve as advisors to the center and industry. CHIME staff will operate the program office, with assistance from volunteers from the groups’ membership. CHIME reports it expects to build expertise by building on existing partnerships with federal agencies and other organizations.

“Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and more dangerous every day,” notes Russell Branzell, CHIME’s president and CEO. “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.”

“We need to make this cyber information useful,” Finn adds. “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.”

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