Another hospital fell victim to ransomware, paid up to save patients
HEALTHCARE has gone digital progressively in the last few years to deliver on expectations and to accommodate the technological advances in medical equipment.
Using simple digital solutions, medical data – derived from medical equipment, devices, and patients’ profiles – can be streamlined and allow for administrative processes to be automated.
However, the right security measures must be anchored to every digital strategy and technology-enabled system because even medical facilities can fall victim to cyberattacks.
Recently, New Jersey’s Hackensack Meridian Health suffered a ransomware attack that compromised the primary clinical systems on its network.
The medical facility hosts 17 specialty-based hospitals and acute care services. As a result, the attack put a great number of lives at risk by suddenly cutting off systems that could be critical to life for some patients.
The attack paralyzed the hospital’s treatment and care delivery processes which immediately jeopardized the lives of patients due to delayed services.
Fearing the possible loss of lives if medical emergencies are not attended to, the hospital decided to pay the ransom demanded.
Luckily, the hospital has secured insurance coverage to help them with the compensation. While the value of the ransome paid was not disclosed, it was reported that the attackers took control over the systems which forced doctors and nurses to operate without access to digital records or patient data.
In fact, non-emergency surgeries had to be rescheduled to ensure operational safety. However, Hackensack Meridian Health claims that patients’ data was not compromised or exposed in any way.
The hospital immediately notified relevant authorities when the attack took place and sought the help of cybersecurity and forensic experts.
For now, the hospital has confirmed that its systems are back online and that the organization is working closely with information technology specialists to recover medical applications.
While the hospital has relieved itself from the horrific incident, it is clear that proactive measures could have prevented the attack altogether.
Even though cybercrime is a constant concern for any digital ecosystem, it should not stop any facilities from adopting technology capabilities and expanding its adoption rates.
With plenty of tailored solutions to cyber threats available in the market, medical facilities must act now to secure themselves.