What are the regulations for cybersecurity in healthcare?

The healthcare industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries. There are several regulations in place to protect patient data from cybersecurity breaches. These vary depending on the location of the organization that handles this data, whether it is a healthcare related one, like a provider or payer, or not. Each country or region has its own regulations that must be followed. If these regulations aren’t followed there are extensive fines in place that healthcare organizations are required to pay. However, compliance with cybersecurity regulations should not only be regarded as a way to avoid fine but also as the possibility to improve the organization’s overall cybersecurity posture.

Below are two key regulations that healthcare organizations should consider when developing their security strategy: HIPAA and GDPR that cover respectively the US and EU areas.

HIPAA: for whom and for what?

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This US law requires electronic patient data to be protected.

HIPAA sets out clear requirements that healthcare organizations must follow if they are in contact with patient data, whether this is storing, editing, or sharing access. HIPAA laws need to be followed by health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers who electronically transmit any health information. As a collection of businesses these are called covered entities within the legislation documentation.

Under HIPAA regulations patient data must not be shared with anyone except the patient and authorized healthcare representatives. There are several different rules in this law which detail out specific requirements covered entities must follow to ensure this confidentiality. These include technical safeguards, physical safeguards, and administrative safeguards amongst others.

Find out a more detailed view on this regulation and how to comply with HIPAA in the framework of cybersecurity in healthcare.

GDPR: when it comes to health data

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Legislation. This legislation’s objective is to ensure EU citizens personal information is properly protected in a standardized approach. One of the key GDPR rules relevant to the healthcare industry is the wide definition of personal data. Under GDPR, anything categorized as personal data must be protected. Health data is one of the special category data of GDPR that requires a high level of data protection measures due to its sensitivity and confidentiality.

The definition of personal data in healthcare not only includes details such as name and address but also takes into account anything that can be used to identify an individual. This includes, but is not limited to, health records, genetic characteristics, current or past medication or any health condition information.

Healthcare organizations need to comply with GDPR regulation as long as the services processing personal data are offered in the EU or deal with EU’s citizens data. Should a cybersecurity data breach happen or a review, the organization can be subject to large fines.

Find out more about how GDPR applies to cybersecurity in healthcare.

The cost of cybersecurity

The cost of a cybersecurity breach can be as high as millions of euros or dollars depending on the circumstances surrounding the breach. Settlements can take years to conclude and can cause considerable upheaval with every part of a healthcare organization’s cybersecurity coming under review and scrutiny.

There is also the additional cost of the healthcare organization’s reputation. Reputation is very important for healthcare organizations. Patients trust healthcare providers to provide treatment to save their lives and protect them against harm. They are much less likely to use a healthcare provider again if they have been subject to a cybersecurity breach or loss of data. Breaches are likely to be published in the media so patients who are deciding which healthcare provider to select between are more likely to go with an alternative provider if they hear about cybersecurity issues. In addition to the reputation and reduced business, healthcare companies may be putting vulnerable patients’ lives at risk by not properly securing their data or systems.

Read more on the cost of cybersecurity in healthcare for more information on this subject.

Finally, the cost of implementing a cybersecurity solution in the healthcare industry varies significantly based on individual requirements. There are multiple solutions and technologies that can be implemented to secure patient data. The best way to find out the cost for a tailored cybersecurity solution is to get in touch with a healthcare team who can advise further. Any advice should be customized to the individual client’s needs, current systems, and requirements.

At Atos we offer full end-to-end cybersecurity solutions for every healthcare organization. Our portfolio of solutions covers all aspects of cybersecurity, including strategy and consulting, managed security services, identity management and access control and cloud security.

Find out more about our cybersecurity solutions for healthcare companies or get in touch to speak directly to one of our healthcare experts.

Related resources


Secure your data journey

With its innovative technologies, Atos is continuously protecting organizations with GDPR compliant services, ensuring no breaches and no abuse of personal data.


The answer to GPDR

Atos offers both GDPR consulting and cybersecurity solutions to answer technical questions of the regulation. Learn more in our leaflet.


Cybersecurity Tech Radar

Invest in the right technologies to improve your security posture.

Whatever your next cybersecurity in healthcare project, our experts can help

Contact us