Hospitals need to Enhance their Cyber Security to get Heart Patient Death Rates Down

According to a study published by researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Central Florida, after an attack the corrective actions taken to improve security in hospital information technology systems may disrupt care processes and reduce the quality of care. The researchers cited Gillette, Wy. based Campbell County Health as an example to the study.

Campbell County in September suffered a devastating ransomware attack. The attack brought down its computers ultimately affecting the main hospital and a number of clinics. The time it takes for a patient to attack to get from the emergency room door to the electrocardiogram (EKG) room to get a reading was measured in the research.

Adam Kujawa, director of Malwarebytes Labs, a cybersecurity company, said, “We tell organizations that they need to identify the data on their networks to put behind additional security.” He mentioned that large organizations with critical services running on computer networks still need to be extra cautious in the face of the rising rate of ransomware attacks on hospitals and schools.

According to the reports, the time to an EKG increased by 2.7 minutes after a data breach and it remained as high as 2 minutes even after three to four years. Plus 36 additional deaths per 10,000 heart attacks occurred annually at the hundreds of hospitals examined in the new study. Hospitals, thus, are seeing increase in heart patient rates in the hospitals attacked by cyber-crimes.

Brett Callow, a spokesperson at Emsisoft, a firm that makes cybersecurity software, has said that it is important that hospitals do not shy away from enhancing their security as not addressing security weakness could negatively impact patient care and outcomes.