Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The value of a patient

The relationship between the doctor and the patient has evolved along with the medicine. Over the years, the rights that the patient has as a person with autonomy in making decisions about their health have increased. Broadly speaking, this right has been increasing and the patient has been taking control over his situation as a patient, in addition to achieving greater respect for your rights of privacy and privacy. Currently, with the recent cyberattacks against the health sector, this privacy is in danger.


When 1,300 American physicians are surveyed and more than 4 out of 5 claim to have experienced some kind of cybersecurity attack, it can be said, with little margin for error, that there is a problem that must be solved with some urgency. According to a study conducted by Accenture and the American Medical Association (AMA), the problem does not lie in the "if", but in the "when" there will be a cyberattack.

Despite the widespread belief that cyberattacks are a thing of the financial and business world, criminals have set a new goal: the health sector. This feeling is widespread among professionals in the sector, in which more than half are very or extremely concerned about future cyberattacks in their practice. In addition to this fear, among the greatest concerns of physicians is the fact that future attacks may interrupt their clinical practices, followed by fear of compromising the safety of patient records or of affecting patient safety.

Of all the types of attacks received in the health sector, according to this study, phishing was the most common type of cyberattack, which was cited by more than half of the doctors who experienced an attack. In contrast, slightly less than half of respondents named computer viruses as the type of attack received. One of the conclusions drawn by this study is that physicians from medium and large companies and institutions are twice as likely as those from small practices to experience this type of attack.

One of the consequences of receiving an attack, apart from compromising the privacy of patients, is the period of inactivity of the networks and accounts attacked. Regarding this fact, almost two-thirds of all physicians who experienced a cyber attack experienced up to four hours of inactivity before resuming operations, and approximately one-third of physicians in medium-sized institutions who experienced a cyber attack said they suffered almost a full day of inactivity.

"The important role of information exchange within clinical care makes health care a singularly attractive target for cybercriminals through computer viruses and phishing scams that, if successful, can threaten patient care and safety" , said AMA president David O. Barbe. "New research shows that most physicians think that the secure exchange of electronic data is important to improve medical care.more support from government, technology and medical sectors would help physicians with a proactive cybersecurity defense to ensure better availability, confidentiality and integrity of health care data. "

The vast majority of doctors believe that sharing personal health data outside their health system is very important, but it is important for them to do it safely. Two-thirds believe that greater access to patient data both inside and outside their health system would help them provide quality patient care more efficiently. In addition, a large majority of physicians said that only HIPAA compliance is insufficient and that a more holistic approach is needed to assess and prioritize risks.

This study confirms the need to make a call for the health sector to increase cybersecurity support for medical practices in their communities. With health you do not play, and with cybersecurity either.

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