Report: Health care ransomware up, but fewer records affected | Fla. health agency reports phishing incident that may affect 30K individuals | NH-ISAC committee releases cybersecurity warning for 2 vulnerabilities
January 9, 2018
News for professionals interested in health care information technology
A report by Cryptonite said health care institutions experienced an 89% increase in ransomware attacks last year, with IT/hacking incidents increasing by almost 24%. However, the number of compromised records declined from more than 13.4 million to about 3.4 million during the same period.
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An employee at Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration became the victim of a phishing email attack, possibly compromising the personal information of 30,000 Medicaid recipients, according to the agency. Hackers could have accessed patients' information in part or in full, and AHCA was only able to confirm that Medicaid ID or Social Security numbers of about 6% of patients may have been exposed.
Health care organizations are urged to be aware of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities and to implement regular software updates and patches, according to a cybersecurity warning issued by the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center's Threat Intelligence Committee. Meltdown, which affects Intel processors, "works by breaking through the barrier that prevents applications from accessing arbitrary locations in kernel memory," while Spectre "tricks applications into accidentally disclosing information that would normally be inaccessible," the warning states.
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The awarding of the Department of Veterans Affairs' EHR contract to Cerner has been delayed by VA Secretary David Shulkin after he and the company's executives disagreed on the definition of "interoperability" during a meeting in December. Shulkin said the delay could provide better outcomes for veterans by giving the VA more time to consult with IT experts.
Mobile analytics solutions can help first-responder agencies understand usage and manage new mobile services as they work toward FirstNet interoperability. This information can aid agencies in developing policies and processes.
An analytics-enabled, digital platform will be co-developed by GE Healthcare and Roche Holding under a new partnership agreement for streamlining and improving clinical decision-making and personalized cancer and critical care treatments. The software tool, which will be co-marketed by the companies' existing sales force, will enable advanced analytics to be applied to in vitro data from Roche's biomarker, genomics, tissue pathology and sequencing portfolio and to in vivo data from GE's imaging and monitoring equipment.
A study in Nature Communications found the occurrence of seizures can be predicted in patients with epilepsy by monitoring the monthly cycles of their brain activity using NeuroPace's implantable responsive neurostimulator system, which uses electrical brain stimulation to stop seizures. Researchers assessed brain activity in 37 patients who received the device over a significantly longer period of time than previous studies and were able to track weekly and monthly brain activity patterns and map when seizure risk was the highest.
The Patient Centered Data Home program is an "inter-HIE notification" system launched by the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative to improve interoperability between HIEs across the US. The program uses ZIP code information to detect a patient's admission to a facility in a city that is different from their home and notifies the patient's local HIE, which then sends relevant patient records to the HIE administering treatment.