Beyond Security Patches—Fundamental Incentive Problems in Health Care Cybersecurity

Genevieve P. Kanter, Jack Kufahl, I. Glenn Cohen
2021 JAMA Health Forum  
With ransomware attacks now targeting critical US infrastructure, hospitals and health systems are under serious threat. In May 2021, at least 1 US health system and multiple hospitals overseas were victims of ransomware attacks. 1 These attacks, which lock up health records and render patient health information inaccessible, force health systems to suspend operations and risk the release of protected health information (PHI) if they do not pay the ransoms. In addition to blocking access to
more » ... th records, cyberattackers can also disable critical medical devices such as infusion pumps, ventilators, and scanners. The human and financial costs of cyber breaches and ransomware attacks are substantial. There are already documented ransomware-related delays in chemotherapy treatments, emergency department care, and surgical procedures. 2 As attacks intensify 3 -ransomware attacks increased by more than 80% in 2020 4 -delays in diagnosis, medical treatment, and procedures will cause increasingly more illness and deaths. Health systems will also take a financial hit from lost revenues caused by their inability to deliver care, which totaled $20.8 billion in 2020 alone. 4 This amount does
doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.2969 pmid:36218890 fatcat:45gujznyejeozii6bzkk3vadxy