Healthcare organizations need to bring in a large number of technology providers and other third-parties to assist in delivering medical services. They also need to protect medical records and sensitive data from patients and employees, while complying with strict standards like HIPAA. So it’s fair to say that third-party risk management for healthcare organizations is a must.
However, a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute last year found that the sector is struggling to prevent and mitigate vendor risk or vendor-related breaches, which is causing an economic impact – especially considering the increase in the Department of Health and Human Services fines and investigations.
What’s the current situation?
On average, the report found healthcare providers have 1,320 third-parties under contract. But less than 30% of respondents assess those third-parties annually. In fact, almost 60% believe it’s possible to bypass the assessment process within their organization.
Why is third-party risk assessment a nuance for healthcare organizations?
Senior executives bypassing third-party security assessments probably come from the fact that they are perceived as time-consuming and costly, with few organizations conducting them for all their vendors. According to the report, organizations assign an average of 3.21 full-time employees to complete vendor risk assessments, with an average of 513 monthly hours spent on the task.
What’s more, the vast majority of healthcare providers still rely on manual, inefficient processes to mitigate third-party risk. This naturally increases costs – according to the Ponemon report, the cost of third-party management across the healthcare sector is $23.7 billion each year.
How to make third-party risk management for healthcare less time-consuming and costly
Fortunately, there is a way, as some respondents recognized the importance of automation, such as continuously updating changes to third-party risk (78%) and standardizing vendor assessment questionnaires (74%).
Sadly, only 38% are able to achieve automation of each capability, making the healthcare industry unable to properly address third-party risks, which are increased by the proliferation of digital, cloud applications and medical device cyber risk.
Automation can help streamline that process, making it less reliant on the human factor, which is helpful in the healthcare environment where a lot of processes are mechanical.
ThirdPartyTrust: A network-Based Approach
Once again, technology comes in as the enabler. Our ThirdPartyTrust platform not only automates the process, it also uses a network approach. This allows healthcare organizations to leverage the existing security profiles of 6,000+ third-parties that have already been assessed, instead of starting from scratch on every security assessment.
It also ensures compliance, as it’s possible to review and map results of certifications such as ISO, NIST, GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, SOC 2, SIG, etc.
The survey by Ponemon found that healthcare organizations are interested in the following capabilities:
- Immediate access to vendor assessments and supporting evidence
- Continuous risk monitoring
- Standardized questionnaires
- Ability to understand the potential financial and legal risk of vendors
The good news is that the tools are already there to provide these improvements in third-party risk management for healthcare. Give them a try!
To learn more about how ThirdPartyTrust can help you manage third-party risk, request your demo now: