How Partnerships Proved Pivotal for UnitedHealth After Hack

When hackers hit UnitedHealth subsidiary Change Healthcare with a huge cyber attack, its partnership with Vyne Dental proved pivotal in managing fallout.

When cybercriminals launched one of the worst-ever cyberattacks on a US healthcare system, hitting UnitedHealth Group's subsidiary Change Healthcare, it made a mighty mess to clean up.

Yet, its partnership with medical software company Vyne Dental, proved the pivotal role such relationships can play for companies trying to manage the fallout and rebuild after a cyber crisis. 

Change Healthcare - one of the largest health payment processing companies in the world -  facilitates over 15 billion transactions per year, with one in three patient records passing through its systems for payment processing and revenue cycle management.

The cyberattack that occurred in February, along with exposing patient data, knocked Change Healthcare offline, created a backlog of unpaid claims. This left doctors’ offices and hospitals with serious cash flow problems—threatening patients’ access to care.

UnitedHealth Group: Bio
  • Revenue: US$371.6bn
  • CEO: Andrew Witty
  • Employees: 399,000+
  • Founded: 1977

How Vyne intervened 

With speed being essential in healthcare, Vyne Dental yesterday (16th May) revealed how they stepped up to alleviate the issue of patient access for Change Healthcare as it battled with recovering its system.

To do this, Vyne Dental made significant investments to expedite the launch of its new digital, self-service experience to accelerate onboarding upwards of 10,000 new customers within three weeks. 

“We acknowledge that some customers experienced support delays as we brought so many new customers on board,” said Steve Roberts, Chief Executive Officer for Vyne Dental. “We wish to express our profound gratitude to all customers for their patience and understanding as we innovated new solutions in response to the crisis.” 

Vyne Dental takes an all-payer, all-clearinghouse connectivity approach, which enabled the organisation to quickly adapt to the Change Healthcare crisis and continue to process claims and payments for provider and payer customers. 

Its platform, alongside onboarding, gives its customers access to staff training, and ways to optimise revenue cycles autonomously through guided online resources.

This allowed Change Healthcare to continue serving patients and helped minimise cash-flow disruption. 

UnitedHealth had admitted to paying an undisclosed ransom to the hackers in a bid to protect data, but screenshots allegedly showing breached personal health information had already been uploaded to the dark web.

Healthcare: a high target 

The incident highlights how big a target healthcare is for cyber attacks. Patient data has become a valuable commodity for cybercriminals, fetching 10 to 40 times more than financial data on black markets. 

It also raises questions about the cyber preparedness of businesses dealing with personal health information. 

The US legislates through its HIPAA rule that healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses that handle electronic protected health information implement specific security measures to protect this sensitive data.

According to Blackberry's 2023 cyber threats report, a staggering 62% of attacks that year targeted critical infrastructure sectors like healthcare, exploiting flaws in IT systems.

"Safeguarding sensitive health data with stringent, industry-specific security protocols has to be the top priority as these threats continue to escalate," Roberts stated. "Our partnership is showing how firms need to be proactive about enabling continuity solutions."

For UnitedHealth, Vyne Dental's partnership extended a critical lifeline as the healthcare giant continues efforts to recover and rebuild from one of the most catastrophic cyberattacks in US healthcare history.

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