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Cyberattack is disrupting care at hospitals

Written by on May 25, 2024

A recent ransomware attack on Ascension’s technology systems has severely disrupted operations at its hospitals, including Austin’s Ascension Seton Medical Center. Ascension, one of the largest health systems in the U.S., detected “unusual activity” on May 8, affecting electronic health records and systems for ordering tests, procedures, and medications. Staff have reverted to manual processes, causing serious delays and errors.

What to know:

Impact: Hospital staff are handwriting orders, leading to slower medication delivery, lab results, and patient care.
Response: Ascension is collaborating with cybersecurity experts, the FBI, and CISA to resolve the issue but has no timeline for restoration.
Patient Care: Emergency patients are being triaged to other hospitals, some non-emergent appointments are postponed, and certain pharmacies are non-operational.
Cybersecurity: This incident is part of a rising trend of cyberattacks on healthcare systems, highlighting the need for improved cybersecurity measures. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is investing $50 million to enhance hospital cybersecurity defenses.
Data Security: Ascension has not confirmed whether patient data was compromised but will notify affected individuals if necessary.

Cyber threats in the healthcare sector are increasing. Enhanced security measures to protect patient data and ensure operational continuity are needed.

Source: NPR

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