Poor Technology Security Causing Negative Patient Outcomes?

With ransomware, healthcare providers may be without access to critical systems for hours, days or even weeks — time when a patient’s critical warning signs could be missed. 

Ransomware is a serious and growing threat for healthcare organizations, with the HIPAA Journal estimating that 27% of these entities experienced a ransomware attack in the previous 12 months. For many of these entities, that means patient information — including pharmaceutical and medical details — are unavailable during the attack and throughout the cleanup period that follows. It’s easy to see how well-meaning medical professionals could easily provide incorrect doses of medicine or even miss a crucial diagnosis without detailed information available on their patients. With all of the confusion around training or retraining staff to protect against future attacks, rebuilding systems and general confusion around data security, it’s not surprising that patients are feeling the brunt of the damage due to ransomware attacks.

The Destructive Force of Ransomware

The remediation efforts around a data breach were shown to increase mortality rates for myocardial infarctions by up to 0.36 percentage points even three years after the breach occurred. This was largely found at organizations that did not have proactive disaster recovery and business continuity solutions in place — critical components of any healthcare entity’s cybersecurity. When your organization is hit by a ransomware attack, you may lose access to some or all of your patient data and business systems until the ransom is paid and the lock released. Alternatively, some healthcare entities are choosing not to pay the ransom, and instead work with their internal IT team and external technology professionals to restore access to vital data and systems from a backup.

How Ransomware Can Impact Patient Outcomes

With overworked hospital and clinic staff and the millions of open jobs in cybersecurity, it’s not surprising that malware continues to be a crisis for the life sciences. A study by Health Services Research found that the timeliness of the care was one of the largest long-term issues that were facing hospitals and clinics that had been affected by a data breach in the past. This was likely due to the additional measures that were required to ensure that fully back online and working as expected, as well as checks and balances that would help protect patients in the future.

You don’t want anything standing in the way of providing the best possible patient outcomes — especially not the technology that your team relies on each day. The proactive security professionals at SMB Integrations understands the value of cybersecurity to your healthcare organization, and we will work closely with your team to define the right solutions to meet the needs of your growing healthcare business. Contact us today at 832-617-0033 or via email to sales@smbintegrations.com to schedule your free initial consultation.