HIPAA Security Rule Security Incident Procedures
HHS OCR’s October newsletter begins:
Every October, in recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the federal government and its partners work to educate stakeholders on cybersecurity awareness and how best to protect the privacy and security of confidential data. Within the health care industry, the HIPAA Security Rule1 applies to covered entities2 and their business associates3 (“regulated entities”) and electronic protected health information (ePHI).4 Because ePHI identifies individuals and includes information relating to an individual’s health, treatment, or payment information, it is a valuable target for cyber-criminals.
Cybersecurity incidents and data breaches continue to increase across all industries. A 2022 cybersecurity firm report noted a 42% increase in cyber-attacks for the first half of 2022 compared to 2021, and a 69% increase in cyber-attacks targeting the health care sector.5 The number of data breaches occurring in the health care sector also continue to rise. Breaches of unsecured protected health information (PHI), including ePHI, reported to the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) affecting 500 or more individuals increased from 663 in 2020 to 714 in 2021. Seventy-four percent (74%) of the breaches reported to OCR in 2021 involved hacking/IT incidents. In the health care sector, hacking is now the greatest threat to the privacy and security of PHI. A timely response to a cybersecurity incident is one of the best ways to prevent, mitigate, and recover from cyberattacks.
Read the full newsletter at HHS.gov.