Healthcare Best Practices for Third-Party Risk Management Success

Learn how some national healthcare providers have transformed the way their organizations manage and mitigate third-party vendor risk while meeting industry best practice standards.

Ed Gaudet | December 10, 2019

Whether tasked with third-party risk management at small, rural healthcare facilities or extensive hospitals with hundreds of beds and advanced academic health science centers, IT and security executives nationwide face similar challenges when equipped with inefficient tools and processes. In an ever-evolving landscape of data security compliance standards and digital threats to patient care, it is essential for healthcare organizations to stay abreast of industry best practices and a handful of CIOs and CISOs say that by doing so they have an advantage over other healthcare IT teams.

Healthcare Best Practices for Third-Party Risk Management Success

Third-Party Vendor Risk Management in the Healthcare Industry

According to Black Book Market Research LLC, 96 percent of IT professionals agree that medical enterprises are in a disproportionately compromised standing in their efforts to stay ahead of data hackers and other digital vulnerabilities. Due to the incredibly high market value of healthcare data, cybersecurity teams must collaborate to implement innovative risk management solutions that have been designed to meet the unique needs of healthcare facilities. One of the most significant areas where risk can be introduced is within the relationship between hospital businesses and third-party vendors.

In fact, third-party vendors accounted for more than 20% of all data breaches that took place in the healthcare industry in 2018. Not only do these cybersecurity breaches expose the sensitive information of patients, but they also present serious financial consequences and have the ability to damage an organization’s reputation. Risk assessments exist as a means to identify the maturity of a potential third-party vendor’s security measures to accurately determine their risk posture, however, the complication lies in the healthcare organization’s responsibility to verify the information provided by vendors.

Unprecedented Increases in Risk Assessments and Shifting Departmental Priorities

In recent years, cybersecurity teams have become inundated with applications for risk assessments to verify products and services that their organization’s workforce needs. Many of these risk assessments are categorized as high-priority task items, given advancements in medical technology and the rapid development of connected, cloud-based applications that present opportunities for improved medical care. In departments where staffing and funding are constrained, this overwhelming amount of work can lead to the introduction of unmanaged risk. 

Deficits in Outdated Risk Management Processes

Without workflow automation and standardized questionnaires specifically created for healthcare, IT and security professionals are left to rely on information supplied in emails, phone calls, and meetings that needs to be manually captured in spreadsheets to determine the risk status of a third-party vendor. Scheduling conferences, sharing documents, and maintaining long email chains is time-consuming, expensive, inefficient, and leaves the process open for human error and oversight.

In the case of single vendors that might provide multiple services to a healthcare provider under multiple contracts, the lack of automated processes can increase the amount of time IT and security teams waste. Moreover, vendors frequently misinterpret questions or provide incomplete responses due to a lack of comprehension, prompting IT and security teams to chase down vendors for clarification. At many healthcare facilities, the processes in place to secure comprehensive answers from vendors and produce a reliable risk assessment are simply insufficient.

How Modern Healthcare IT Teams are Mitigating Vendor Risk

Some national healthcare providers have modernized their third-party risk management process and they want to share how they tackled these industry-wide issues head-on. Learn how they have transformed the way their organizations manage and mitigate third-party vendor risk while meeting industry best practice standards.

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Overthrow the third-party vendor risk management status quo in healthcare.