AMA: 4 out of 5 US physicians are cyberattack victims

Slightly more than 80% of U.S. physicians have experienced a type of cybersecurity attack, with the most common being phishing and computer viruses, according to a new AMA survey.

The association said the poll’s findings indicate the health care and other sectors need to step up cybersecurity support for medical practices.

“The important role of information sharing within clinical care makes health care a uniquely attractive target for cyber criminals through computer viruses and phishing scams that, if successful, can threaten care delivery and patient safety,” David O. Barbe, MD, MHA, AMA president, said in a press release. “New research shows that most physicians think that securely exchanging electronic data is important to improve health care. More support from the government, technology and medical sectors would help physicians with a proactive cybersecurity defense to better ensure the availability, confidentially and integrity of health care data.”

Other findings include:

  • 74% were “most concerned” that future attacks could compromise the security of patient records or interrupt their clinical practices.
  • 55% were “very” or “extremely concerned” about future cyberattacks in their practice.
  • 53% were concerned cyberattacks could impact patient safety.
  • 85% believe it is “very” or “extremely important” to share personal health data outside of their health system, but it must be done safely.
  • 83% of physicians said that HIPAA compliance alone is insufficient and that a more holistic approach to prioritizing and evaluating risks is needed.

“Physician practices should not rely on compliance alone to enhance their security profile,” Kaveh Safavi, MD, JD, a senior managing director with Accenture, a professional services company that worked with the AMA in this research project, said in the release. “Keeping pace with the sophistication of cyberattacks demands that physicians strengthen their capabilities, build resilience and invest in new technologies to support a foundation of digital trust with patients.”

The survey reflects 1,300 U.S. physician responses, according to the release.

Healio has recently published several articles to help primary care physicians and other medical professionals protect themselves against the threat of cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity expert: 5 things physicians should consider to help protect data

In this guest commentary, Zuly Gonzalez, co-founder and CEO of Light Point Security and former cybersecurity expert at the National Security Agency, discusses what physicians and private practices could do to help prevent hackers from gaining access to patients’ valuable health information. Read more.

Q&A: Why health care remains a target to cyberattacks like WannaCry

Earlier this year, hackers executed a worldwide ransomware attack that has impacted more than 100 countries and infected tens of thousands of computers. More than 30 hospitals, doctors’ offices and ambulance companies across the United Kingdom’s National Health Service were affected by the cyberattack. Doctors and nurses were unable to access patients’ records and patients had to be turned away from treatment on occasion. Read more.

Cybersecurity should be a research priority for hospitals

More than 200 data breaches have been reported at hospitals across the United States during the last 7 years, highlighting the need for better research on how to effectively guard patients’ information, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

FDA green-lights firmware update to address cybersecurity concerns for pacemakers

The FDA announced this past summer that it approved a firmware update for pacemakers manufactured by Abbott to address potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Read more.

Concern grows over cybersecurity for diabetes devices

Because many devices used in diabetes management — including blood glucose monitors, continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, artificial pancreas systems and wireless insulin pen delivery systems — utilize wireless internet communication, the diabetes community has begun to discuss ways of protecting these devices and the people who use them. Read more.

Disclosure: Barbe is president of AMA. Healio Family Medicine was unable to determine Safavi’s relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.

Slightly more than 80% of U.S. physicians have experienced a type of cybersecurity attack, with the most common being phishing and computer viruses, according to a new AMA survey.

The association said the poll’s findings indicate the health care and other sectors need to step up cybersecurity support for medical practices.

“The important role of information sharing within clinical care makes health care a uniquely attractive target for cyber criminals through computer viruses and phishing scams that, if successful, can threaten care delivery and patient safety,” David O. Barbe, MD, MHA, AMA president, said in a press release. “New research shows that most physicians think that securely exchanging electronic data is important to improve health care. More support from the government, technology and medical sectors would help physicians with a proactive cybersecurity defense to better ensure the availability, confidentially and integrity of health care data.”

Other findings include:

  • 74% were “most concerned” that future attacks could compromise the security of patient records or interrupt their clinical practices.
  • 55% were “very” or “extremely concerned” about future cyberattacks in their practice.
  • 53% were concerned cyberattacks could impact patient safety.
  • 85% believe it is “very” or “extremely important” to share personal health data outside of their health system, but it must be done safely.
  • 83% of physicians said that HIPAA compliance alone is insufficient and that a more holistic approach to prioritizing and evaluating risks is needed.

“Physician practices should not rely on compliance alone to enhance their security profile,” Kaveh Safavi, MD, JD, a senior managing director with Accenture, a professional services company that worked with the AMA in this research project, said in the release. “Keeping pace with the sophistication of cyberattacks demands that physicians strengthen their capabilities, build resilience and invest in new technologies to support a foundation of digital trust with patients.”

The survey reflects 1,300 U.S. physician responses, according to the release.

Healio has recently published several articles to help primary care physicians and other medical professionals protect themselves against the threat of cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity expert: 5 things physicians should consider to help protect data

In this guest commentary, Zuly Gonzalez, co-founder and CEO of Light Point Security and former cybersecurity expert at the National Security Agency, discusses what physicians and private practices could do to help prevent hackers from gaining access to patients’ valuable health information. Read more.

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Q&A: Why health care remains a target to cyberattacks like WannaCry

Earlier this year, hackers executed a worldwide ransomware attack that has impacted more than 100 countries and infected tens of thousands of computers. More than 30 hospitals, doctors’ offices and ambulance companies across the United Kingdom’s National Health Service were affected by the cyberattack. Doctors and nurses were unable to access patients’ records and patients had to be turned away from treatment on occasion. Read more.

Cybersecurity should be a research priority for hospitals

More than 200 data breaches have been reported at hospitals across the United States during the last 7 years, highlighting the need for better research on how to effectively guard patients’ information, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

FDA green-lights firmware update to address cybersecurity concerns for pacemakers

The FDA announced this past summer that it approved a firmware update for pacemakers manufactured by Abbott to address potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Read more.

Concern grows over cybersecurity for diabetes devices

Because many devices used in diabetes management — including blood glucose monitors, continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, artificial pancreas systems and wireless insulin pen delivery systems — utilize wireless internet communication, the diabetes community has begun to discuss ways of protecting these devices and the people who use them. Read more.

Disclosure: Barbe is president of AMA. Healio Family Medicine was unable to determine Safavi’s relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.