Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Healthcare , Industry Specific

Examining the Effects of Cyberattacks on Patient Care

Ryan Witt of Proofpoint Discusses Survey of Healthcare IT Security Pros
Examining the Effects of Cyberattacks on Patient Care
Ryan Witt, healthcare cybersecurity leader, Proofpoint

Cyberattacks on healthcare entities aren't just annoyances.

Healthcare IT and security professionals who participated in a recent survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute said cyberattacks result in poor patient outcomes including delayed procedures, increased complications - and even a rise in mortality.

"The key takeaway of this research is that there is a direct connection between a cyber event and an adverse patient outcome," says Ryan Witt, a healthcare cybersecurity executive with Proofpoint, which sponsored the study.

The survey questioned approximately 640 healthcare IT and security practitioners about the impact of cyberattacks, including ransomware, business email compromises, supply chain incidents and cloud compromises.

Ransomware incidents had the biggest impact, as 41% of the respondents surveyed said their organizations had been hit with a ransomware attack. Of those, 67% said they believed the incident affected patient care by delaying tests or procedures, causing longer stays and contributing to a rise in mortality rates.

"Summing it all up, if you are a patient at a health institution that has a cyber incident, based on the research of this study, there's a chance it impacts your mortality depending where you're at with your procedures and patient engagement journey," Witt says in an interview with Information Security Media Group.

In the interview (see audio link below photo), Witt also discusses:

  • The financial impact of cyberattacks on healthcare entities;
  • Other key findings from the Ponemon study on the impact of cyberattacks on patient care;
  • Lessons emerging from the study for healthcare sector entities.

Witt serves as Proofpoint's healthcare industry practice managing director and is responsible for strategy of the company's healthcare business. He is also the chair of Proofpoint's healthcare advisory board.

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