Health Law Highlights

Healthcare Ransomware Attacks Lead to Uptick in ED Visits at Nearby Hospitals

Summary of article from Health IT Security, by Jill McKeon:

A research letter in JAMA has revealed that ransomware attacks on hospitals not only disrupt the targeted facilities but also impact neighboring hospitals. The study, which analyzed emergency department (ED) visits and patient discharge data from 2014 to 2020, found a temporary decrease in ED visits and inpatient admissions at attacked hospitals and a temporary increase in ED visits at unaffected nearby hospitals. However, there were no significant changes in inpatient admissions at nearby hospitals. The research identified eight ransomware attacks that disrupted 15 hospitals, with ED visits and inpatient admissions decreasing by up to 16.62% in the second week after the attack. These findings underscore the broader implications of ransomware attacks on healthcare facilities and the importance of cybersecurity in patient care and safety.