From the Fall Issue 2018
Healthcare is not immune to the threat of cyberattacks in
today’s technology-driven world. Hospitals and health systems are
vulnerable, and the risks seem to increase daily. Aggressive data
breaches, malware, and ransomware can cripple an organization.
The good news is that innovation in healthcare is
growing exponentially; the bad news is that innovation often creates
more opportunities for cyberattackers who see health data as a valuable
commodity. Unfortunately, healthcare lags behind other sectors in
preparing for and avoiding attacks.
As the articles and commentaries in this issue of Frontiers of Health Services Management
attest, any organization can be a target of sophisticated attackers.
They find smart devices, mobile apps, and wearables connected to the
information technology (IT) infrastructure especially inviting. Phishing
is a common way attackers breach systems through e-mailed links that
hook unsuspecting staff, and everyone in an organization must be
educated about the risk. Through organization-wide training, leaders can
raise critical security consciousness, explain the various threats,
develop and disseminate policies and procedures, emphasize the severe
consequences of an attack, and convey shared responsibility. In
cybersecurity, everyone is a stakeholder.
A risk assessment of IT, mobile and medical devices,
and all systems across the continuum of care is an important initial
step. Although many healthcare leaders identify cybersecurity as a
pressing concern, they may not always ensure that necessary financial
and human resources are allocated to meet the risks, which leaves their
organizations vulnerable. Funding to prevent attacks must be sufficient
because not being prepared can be even more costly.
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