The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) this week announced the launch of the HITRUST Cybersecurity Incident Response and Coordination Center to provide the healthcare industry with early identification of cyber attacks, coordination of response activities, and creation of best practices.

"The center will collaborate with HITRUST and others to identify and remediate incidents, and will also obtain and synthesize cyber threat and response information from numerous other sources to make the information more readily available to center participants," the organization said in a statement.

"The HITRUST organization has already established what it calls a Common Security Framework that can be used by any and all organizations that create, access, store or exchange personal health and financial information," writes Computerworld's Michael Cooney.

"Data breaches in healthcare jumped more than 30 percent last year and could be costing the industry an average of $6.5 billion a year, according to a recent Ponemon Institute study," writes Dark Reading's Kelly Jackson Higgins. "Hospitals and healthcare providers suffered an average of four data breaches in the past year, the report found, and employee error was one of the main reasons for breaches. The increase in breaches may in part be due to better detection capabilities, however, noted Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute."

"As the healthcare industry continues its conversion process to full patient electronic medical records, it will most certainly become a more frequent target of cybersecurity attacks, and having such a system in place in the near future will be key to collaboratively responding and preventing such attacks," Jorge DeCesare, chief data security administrator at Dignity Health, said in a statement.