During the height of the COVID-19 panic, hospitals and healthcare entities were constantly being warned of the possibility of cyberattacks. While many were thwarted, cyberattacks against healthcare entities continue and many entities are not as well prepared as other industries.
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While in the past, the focus of cyber security has been on preventing data breaches, cybercriminals have largely shifted to locking down healthcare systems with ransomware.
With this shift in action, there is also a shift in potential consequences.
Now there is much greater risk to patient care, as locking down a hospital system or network can slow or stop treatment and result in patient harm.
One example where a patient died was at Springhill Medical Center in 2019. Ransomware shut down the hospital’s network and other systems. A pregnant mother came in and gave birth, but the infant died. There was no monitoring available to show the infant was in distress.
So how can you prevent ransomware from compromising patient care at your healthcare entity?
First things first. Make sure your technology is up to date and has the most current versions installed. It is also important to recognize that this technology is limited and that 77% of breaches are caused by human error.
This means that it is essential that your employees take cybersecurity seriously and have the tools they need to report concerns.
Train your staff thoroughly on how to recognize threats and how to respond.
You should also have contingency and disaster recovery plans. Know that you will be hacked and you need to have a way to access your data.
It is also essential to have a plan as to when and if you will notify patients and providers.
The patient above who lost her infant sued the hospital for not telling her about the ransomware. Had she known, she may have sought care elsewhere and her child could potentially have lived.
Finally, make sure your cyber insurance is up to date. Adequate insurance coverage can help save your healthcare practice financially following a breach.
We help our clients make sure they are protected from ransomware threats. If you need help making sure your office is protected, contact us today.
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