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No. 1 Patient Safety Threat? Ransomware, Cyberattacks

ECRI Institute Releases List of Top 10 Health Technology Hazards
While dirty hospital mattresses and the failure to properly disinfect medical gear are among top safety risks posed to patients, ransomware and other cyberattacks will pose even bigger threats to patients in 2018, according to the ECRI Institute. The non-profit patient safety research organization named ransomware and cybersecurity threats as the No. 1 health technology hazard for 2018.

Nevertheless, some organizations fail to realize that ransomware poses a threat to patient safety, says Keith Fricke, partner and principal consultant at tw-Security. For example, he notes, “those entities that have experienced ransomware events may have been inconvenienced by files getting encrypted that did not directly impact patient care.” So they may not see ransomware as a patient safety issue.

Fricke says many organizations’ data backup plans are insufficient, putting them at additional risk. “In addition, those with mature backup strategies have to be wary of ransomware-encrypted files getting replicated to their offsite backups,” he points out.


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