On February 12, the first major news story covering a hospital cyber attack was covered in California. Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital was hit with $3.6 million in damages and their EHR system was shut down for a week. Several days later, the hospital’s CEO stated that they had paid the hackers $17,000, roughly 40 Bitcoins, for the key to their system.
Not even a month later, MedStar, a 10-hospital system in Columbia, MD, was forced to shut down their system because of a hacker-induced virus. MedStar continued to try to give the best patient care possible, even with no digital systems working properly.
Now, reports say that hospitals are hit with ransomware every week throughout the United States.How should hospitals combat this costly problem while saving privacy, money and time? One thing is for sure: health IT professionals are more needed than ever.
One major problem is lack of awareness and training. Some experts state that healthcare informatics is behind other industries when it comes to security and protection against cyber-attacks. CEOs, boards of trustees, and all other major heads need to be on the same page regarding security tactics and prevention. All end-users of EHR and other systems should be continuously trained and updated on new procedures and system changes.
The message here is clear: education for end-users of all digital operational systems is imperative for avoiding and preventing cyber-attacks. Maintaining a budget and keeping and updated security plan is also of utmost importance. Health IT professionals are needed to ensure systems are updated, operational and fully functioning. Without the proper professionals in place, more cyber-attack crisis can and will keep taking place, costing money, time and patient peace of mind.
This blog was inspired by and based on this article .