The healthcare industry as a whole is steadily overcoming its relative lack of investment in information technology through the 1990s.

One significant implication, however, is that greater quantities of sensitive information are now available in electronic form and are being made accessible in a networked environment. With this comes the responsibility to ensure that such data is properly protected. In other words, providing greater accessibility to information to facilitate enhanced patient care and greater efficiency of healthcare operations must be balanced with the need to maintain the privacy and integrity of sensitive, electronic Patient Healthcare Information (ePHI).

IT professionals in the healthcare industry are turning to Sourcefire solutions to:

  • Balance accessibility with protection of patient data. Healthcare is an industry where, in many situations, the timely availability and accuracy of information can literally mean the difference between life and death. As such, the criticality and sensitivity of computing functions being conducted on healthcare networks often exceeds that associated with the networks of typical commercial organizations.
  • Demonstrate and maintain regulatory compliance. Consequently, it is not surprising that the industry is subject to regulation on how it operates various computer-based components and how it safeguards the privacy and integrity of patient information. Some of these regulations are the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (21CFR Part 11), and FDA Section 510(k) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. All of these regulations work to implement a comprehensive set of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect networks and systems, and, in turn, the information that is transported and stored.
  • Maintain a secure environment in the face of staffing challenges. Compensating for a severe nursing shortage by accommodating flexible work schedules and access to information from home, as well as supporting the ability to work with an increasing number of remote, affiliate medical organizations are increasing the need for secure, collaborative computing in the healthcare industry. IT departments, themselves woefully understaffed, need tools to effectively manage and secure this increasingly complex environment.

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