After attending the CHIME Fall Forum in Phoenix, AZ, I came away with some great insights into the challenges hospital CIOs face. There is no doubt that security was top of mind for all of these healthcare CIOs. It’s fair to say that it’s probably the challenge that keeps most of them up at night.
What was a bit shocking to me was how many hospital CIOs said that they’ve had no issue getting more budget for security and privacy initiatives from their board of directors. In fact, I heard one hospital CIO say that their board had not denied any of their requests for more budget or support around security and privacy. This is quite a change from the past where the “just enough to sleep at night” approach to security was common across healthcare.
This shift is a good thing for patients but is no doubt a challenge for healthcare CIOs. If the board gives you everything you ask for, then you better deliver results. Let’s just say that I don’t envy the hospital CIO with so many threats out there.
While it’s great that getting the funding and board support is great for hospital CIOs, I was intrigued by one CIOs comment that despite having the budget, they couldn’t find and keep the right security talent in their organization because security professionals are in such high demand.
I’m certain this is going to be an extremely hard challenge going forward. It’s unlikely that most healthcare organizations can pay a competitive wage with other industries for security professionals. Plus, many healthcare organizations are far behind when it comes to security, so would you rather work in security at an advanced organization or one that still has faxes, pagers, and Windows XP hooked up to a medical device?
I don’t know anyone that thinks that healthcare IT security is going to get any easier. In fact, it seems to be getting worse day by day. So, healthcare is going to need highly qualified healthcare security staff if it wants to have any hope of protecting patients’ data. It’s just not clear where these highly trained staff are going to come from. If you’re searching for a job, now might be a good time to brush up on your security and privacy expertise. I think the demand for security jobs is going to definitely outpace supply.