HIPAA Violations: Know The Cost

Regulations are everywhere in the cybersecurity world, to address the vast array of risks that come about as technology expands into every industry. In the past, we’ve discussed worrying trends in the healthcare industry—just last year, it surpassed all other industries in America in cybersecurity attacks, and still ranks noticeably low in digitization and cyber protections.

Today, hospitals across the country face enhanced threats from data breaches and ransomware, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) imposes continuously updating regulations to address evolving cyber risks. Yet HIPAA compliance has stagnated, and in the last five years, the organization has addressed over 88 million dollars’ worth of HIPAA violations.

Clearly these violations are a costly endeavor—so why do hospitals and healthcare organizations remain lacking? For one thing, the backlog of analog patient data in the world of healthcare is a daunting entity to digitize. For another, IT security experts in healthcare report that even when they advocate for HIPAA compliance, their superiors hesitate to institute change, and prefer to pay the violation fines.

But exactly how sustainable is that attitude? Our research suggests that although implementing cybersecurity measures will require significant investments, it’s worth it—to preserve your security posture in the healthcare industry and your financial situation alike.

The Real Cost

Duo Security’s most recent report warns that 56% of healthcare companies in the U.S. are operating on legacy systems with egregious vulnerabilities. Many of these companies have suffered serious data breaches and HIPAA violation penalties in the last year; data breaches cost hospitals a collective total of $4B in 2019, and HIPAA violations can range anywhere from $100 to $50,000 per violation.

As hospitals drag their feet on updating and digitizing their systems, they face serious financial instability. Meanwhile, the simple purchase of an EHR, or Electronic Health Record, as recommended by HIPAA regulations, costs $33,000 up front for an in-office system and $26,000 up front for an SaaS.

And violations continue to mount in cost and seriousness all the time. 2018 was a record year for HIPAA penalties, totaling $28.7M, and an investigation of Anthem, Inc. that resulted in a $16M bill. If violations are of the same provision, charges cap at $1.5M—but that’s only per year, and in turn, healthcare organizations refusing to change their habits long-term can quite literally cost millions of dollars.

Keeping up with ever-evolving regulations present an understandable challenge. But weathering the costs of EHRs, security audits, and other necessary aspects of cybersecurity upkeep will present a more sustainable financial option for hospitals moving into the future.

Invest In Security

When looking into cybersecurity options for your organization, making a decision may feel as daunting as confronting HIPAA regulations.

BAI Security is here to help. Our HIPAA Risk Assessment affirms your HIPAA compliance and the safety of your patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI), providing a clear path to meeting and exceeding regulatory requirements. We evaluate all levels of your organization, including:

  • Network Security — We thoroughly evaluate your network to validate its security and proper monitoring
  • Data Security — We audit your controls to ensure PHI is properly secured and protected
  • Infrastructure Security — We assess your workstations, server, and network infrastructure devices to confirm they do not pose a risk to your security posture
  • Risk Management — We integrate assessment findings to measure your risk against a negative security event and empower you with risk mitigation tools

Take the next step toward protecting your data, your patients, and your reputation, and contact us today.

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