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September 30, 2021updated 29 Sep 2021 4:58pm

Rates of ransomware attacks continue to rise, impacting mortality rates

Ransomware attacks in the medical industry are compromising patient safety and care and have contributed to increased mortality rates.

By GlobalData

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to impact all industries around the globe, hospitals and healthcare facilities are increasing the rate of adoption of telemedicine technologies. However, while technological advancements are highly beneficial to the healthcare industry by optimising the workflow, improving communication between patients and physicians and alleviating the flow of patients in hospitals, the number of ransomware attacks and data breaches continues to grow. While patients and medical professionals become more accepting of new technologies, cyberattacks are on the rise in the medical industry. A recent study by the Ponemon Institute found an increase in mortality rates after cyberattacks.

While efforts have been made in order to provide better protection for healthcare facilities, the rates of cyberattacks and ransomware hacks continue to grow. Additionally, it is clear that currently, providers are not entirely confident in their abilities to combat ransomware, which could also influence the acceptance rates of telemedicine integration in the healthcare industry. While GlobalData’s recent poll showed that 66% of 201 respondents stated that they are now more willing to use a remote monitoring device compared to before the pandemic, some of the respondents (17%) expressed their doubts about remote patient monitoring usage due to privacy concerns and 6% of respondents reported being less willing to use remote patient monitoring devices. Unless the issues concerning the increased amount of ransomware attacks in healthcare facilities are addressed in a timely manner, the number of people having doubts about the usage of telemedicine devices will increase. Ransomware attacks are one of the most problematic in the medical sector due to ransomware files being critical to patient health and safety. In June 2020, a ransomware attack occurred in the US that targeted software essential for accessing patient records. With Covid-19 overwhelming hospitals all over the globe, an increased rate of cyberattacks will aggravate the quality of patient care even further.

The rates of cyberattacks targeting medical sectors continue to grow, impacting patient care in a negative way. While regulatory agencies such as the FDA and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency are overhauling their regulations towards telemedicine advancements in the healthcare industry, it is unclear whether these regulations will be applied in a timely manner or whether they will dramatically decrease the impact of the cyberattacks on patients’ care.

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