HHS Cyber Initiative: Incident Planning and Preparedness

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently unveiled a new cyber initiative aimed at strengthening the cybersecurity posture of healthcare organizations, including doctors' offices, billing companies, and medical SaaS providers. This initiative comes amidst a growing wave of cyberattacks targeting the healthcare sector, putting sensitive patient data and critical infrastructure at risk.

One of the key goals outlined by HHS is Basic Incident Planning and Preparedness. This emphasizes the need for healthcare organizations to develop and implement robust plans to effectively respond to, recover from, and mitigate the impact of cyber incidents. This includes:

  • Developing and executing a comprehensive incident response plan: This plan should outline clear roles and responsibilities for personnel, communication protocols, and the steps to take to contain and remediate an attack.
  • Ensuring personnel are trained and prepared: All personnel involved in incident response should be familiar with their roles and responsibilities outlined in the plan. Regular training exercises are crucial to ensure smooth and effective execution during a real-world incident.
  • Maintaining strong stakeholder coordination: Effective incident response requires seamless communication and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, including law enforcement, regulatory bodies, and other affected organizations.
  • Promoting information sharing: Voluntary sharing of cybersecurity threat intelligence with external stakeholders can significantly enhance collective situational awareness and improve overall preparedness across the healthcare industry.
The HHS initiative outlines two specific HICP Practices to support these goals:
  • Cybersecurity Oversight and Governance: This practice focuses on establishing a strong leadership framework for cybersecurity, including clear policies, procedures, and accountability mechanisms.
  • Security Operations Center and Incident Response: This practice emphasizes the importance of establishing a dedicated Security Operations Center (SOC) equipped with the tools and expertise to monitor systems for threats, detect and respond to incidents, and coordinate response efforts.

By implementing these practices and achieving the desired outcomes outlined by HHS, healthcare organizations can effectively mitigate the risks associated with cyberattacks, protecting patient safety, ensuring business continuity, and minimizing unplanned downtime.

What This Means for Your Business

As a business owner in the healthcare industry, it is crucial to understand how the HHS cyber initiative will impact your operations. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Complying with the new goals is essential: The HHS initiative does not currently carry mandatory compliance requirements. However, adhering to these goals demonstrates a commitment to cybersecurity best practices and can significantly enhance your organization's security posture.
  • Investing in incident preparedness is crucial: Developing a robust incident response plan and ensuring your personnel are trained and prepared are fundamental steps towards mitigating the impact of cyberattacks.
  • Collaboration is key: Fostering strong communication and information sharing with internal and external stakeholders can significantly strengthen your organization's overall cybersecurity defense.


Vector Choice is here to assist as your business takes proactive steps to comply with the HHS cyber initiatives. Contact us today to invest in incident preparedness! You can safeguard your business, your patients' data, and your reputation in the increasingly complex landscape of healthcare cybersecurity with our help!