Ransomware takes spot on ECRI's healthcare hazards list

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

November 7, 2017 -- The risk to patient safety from ransomware and other cybersecurity threats is the No. 1 health technology hazard for 2018, according to a new report by healthcare consultancy ECRI Institute.

Ransomware and other types of malware attacks are potential patient safety crises that can disrupt healthcare delivery operations and place patients at risk, according to the ECRI's "Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2018" list. The report identifies the potential sources of danger involving medical devices and other health technologies that ECRI believes warrant the greatest attention for the coming year. ECRI said the list also provides practical strategies for reducing risks, establishing priorities, and enacting solutions for each of the hazards included.

In addition to cybersecurity threats, ECRI listed the insufficient use of digital imaging tools to control radiation dose. New tools are available that allow users to control and reduce dose during imaging procedures, as well as for tracking radiation dose. But users sometimes are not proficient with the tools or they don't use them when the circumstances warrant, according to the report.

Other hazardous issues include bed and stretcher support surfaces that remain contaminated between patients, missed alarms, equipment malfunctions resulting from the use of incompatible cleaning agents, and patient burns from electrosurgical electrodes that are not safely holstered between uses, ECRI said.

An executive summary of the report can be downloaded for free on the ECRI Institute website.

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