February 2019

Cybersecurity Takes Top Spot on ECRI’s Annual Health Technology Hazards List

ECRI Institute (formerly the Emergency Care Research Institute) has published the “2019 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards” report as a free service to inform healthcare facilities about generic hazards that may arise from the use of medical devices and systems — all of which can be minimized or avoided.

Taking the number one spot this year is cybersecurity attacks. By hijacking computers and systems, cyber criminals can, among other things, install ransomware, making the data inaccessible unless a sum of money or cryptocurrency is paid; install malware that hinders the network’s operability or damages the integrity of the files; or steal the data, which may include personal and financial information, and sell it on the dark web. Aside from being an IT nightmare, cybersecurity attacks can hinder patient care.

Also making the list was the injury risk from overhead patient lift systems, which are used to prevent injuries in healthcare workers and to safely transfer a patient, such as from a bed to a wheelchair. To mitigate risks, the systems should be properly installed and then tested by qualified personnel, maintained properly, used as indicated, and assessed before and after each use.

To download the report, visit http://ecri.org/2019hazards.

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