Technology is changing our world at an extraordinary rate. In no place is that more evident than in the health care sphere. From wearable technology to WebMD to electronic health records, the way we maintain our health is wildly different than how we did just 20 years ago. It goes without saying that the internet changed everything, and with that change came incredible benefits, but also significant vulnerabilities. To meet these challenges, legions of IT professionals specializing in security flooded the job market, and to their credit, do a great job keeping our computers – and thus, our information – secure.
Health care, however, is a special industry. The rules, regulations and sheer scope of it make securing information a daunting task. Beyond the logistics, the nature of health information is such that privacy is perhaps more important than in any other industry. Coupled with the fact that health records are some of the most enticing information for hackers means it’s a big job. But, as CIO reports, that job isn’t being met with the number of professionals it may require.
“We’re seeing a lot more medical devices being connected to the network, whether for maintenance reasons or for collecting data remotely, the networks becoming much more complicated than it was even three or four years ago,” says Heather Roszkowski, MSIA, CISSP, chief information security officer at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
The shortage of qualified employees is driven by the particularly nuanced understanding of both IT and health care, one that’s not easy to find in candidates. Deepening the problem, explains Roszkowski, is that the industry is moving so quickly that the skillset hospitals and other entities are looking for in a candidate is a moving target.
So how do we, as an industry, fix this problem? Start at the bottom. “The jobs are definitely there if grads are willing to take entry-level positions with employers who can give them health care industry experience and additional training,” says Brad Elster, president of Healthcare IT Leaders. The need for these jobs is certainly not going away, so if you know someone interested in IT, encourage them to learn the health care ropes, it will pay dividends – personally and communally – for years go to come.
How can we encourage more IT security professionals to join the health care world? Join the conversation by finding us on Twitter @CNSICorp.