Cybersecurity in Healthcare: Ignore “Voluntary” Guidelines at Your Peril!

Facing the cyber storm, hospitals get a wake-up call: meet Uncle Sam’s “voluntary” cybersecurity goals or risk losing federal funds. It’s comedic how ‘voluntary’ suggests a choice—until it doesn’t. Buckle up, healthcare, it’s regulation prelude time! #CybersecurityPerformanceGoals

Hot Take:

Listen up, healthcare infosec warriors! Uncle Sam’s “voluntary” cybersecurity performance goals (CPGs) for hospitals are about as optional as wearing pants to a job interview. Ignore them at your own peril, because today’s “suggestions” might just turn into tomorrow’s “you gotta do it or else!” So, buckle up and update that anti-virus, or get ready to explain to your patients why your computers are on life support!

Key Points:

  • Voluntary cybersecurity goals are the healthcare sector’s crystal ball, hinting at future mandatory regulations.
  • These CPGs are split into “essential” and “enhanced” categories, featuring ten security actions each to shield against cyber threats.
  • Real-world cyberattacks have shaped these goals, proving that even the basics can be a Herculean task for some hospitals.
  • Outdated tech and financial woes plague healthcare networks, especially in small communities, making security upgrades challenging.
  • Failure to meet these goals could result in hospitals being cut off from the sweet, sweet flow of federal funding.

Need to know more?


When it comes to cybersecurity, the "essentials" are like the ABCs of internet safety, but for many healthcare orgs, they might as well be reading ancient hieroglyphics. Multi-factor authentication? Sounds fancy, but try herding 15,000 employees through that digital gate without causing a hospital-wide stampede. And let's talk about revoking credentials – not so simple when you're dealing with a graduating class the size of a small army. The goal might be to block cyberattacks, but let's not forget the art of bouncing back like a cyber-rubber ball when things go south.


We've got hospitals running on tech that could qualify for antique roadshows, grappling with budgets tighter than a new pair of scrubs. This isn't your run-of-the-mill "oops, we forgot to update our software" situation; we're talking about tech debt that's been piling up like laundry in a college dorm. Some facilities are literally shutting down under the weight of it all – a summer bummer that's more about losing data than getting sunburned.


Now, the big, scary part: if hospitals don't start taking their cyber vitamins, they might just find their federal funding IV drip yanked out. And we're not only talking about the big city behemoths; rural clinics are in the crosshairs too. It's like a twisted game of Simon Says where Simon is the government, and the consequences are a tad more severe than just sitting out a round.


Let's not forget about bouncing back after a cyber punch to the gut. Lehmann, the cyber oracle of our story, points out that healthcare has been so focused on keeping patient data as secret as a superhero's identity that they've forgotten about the importance of being able to take a hit and keep on ticking. After all, what good is a secret identity if you're knocked out of the fight?


Bottom line: in the world of hospital cybersecurity, "voluntary" is a term as loose as the hospital gown that ties in the back. Hospitals better start treating these CPGs like the cheat codes to the next level of security, or they might just find themselves playing the game on hardcore mode – with no extra lives. And remember, in this game, the "game over" screen could have some very real consequences.