Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

HHS announces launch of new cybersecurity center

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will soon launch a healthcare focused cybersecurity center, according to a press release. Christopher Wlaschin, chief information security officer at HHS, announced this news at a forum in April. The cybersecurity center will be called the Health Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (HCCIC) and will be modeled after the Homeland Security Department’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), Wlaschin said.

The purpose of HCCIC will be to seek to reduce the extensive “noise” in the healthcare industry about cyberthreats and to analyze and deliver best practices, Wlaschin said. He added that the cybersecurity center will also help smaller providers and doctors’ offices to understand the two or three things they can do to protect patient privacy and ensure information security when it comes to the various technologies they may be using. HHS also envisions HCCIC working with mobile health app developers to help promote data security in that fast-growing area.

Wlaschin said HHS anticipates that HCCIC will reach initial operating capability in late June.

Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) may soon undertake a similar initiative as the HCCIC, the Federal News Radio reported in an article.

Mark Scrimshire, the innovator behind CMS’ Blue Button initiative, told Federal News Radio that his team has already written an API to allow health applications developers to verify their security with a trusted source.

In the wake of highly concerning cyberattacks such as the WannaCry ransomware attack that have happened recently, it’s not surprising that interest and investment in cybersecurity is taking center stage in healthcare.

HHS and CMS’ focus on mobile and security also makes sense since the number of mobile health applications has been increasing steadily and rapidly, the Federal News Radio article said.

“Every single data holder in the industry has this problem of who do they trust with the keys,” Scrimshire said in the article. “What we’re trying to do is say, ‘Let’s try and sort this out as an industry.’ We’ve actually put together code to allow the technologists to do it.”