Cybersecurity Attacks Once Again Top ECRI’s Annual Health Technology Hazards List

By MedTech Intelligence Staff

The threat of an attack is imminent. It is critical for medical devices and systems, as well as healthcare facilities to have the right safeguards in place.

The increasing frequency of cyberattacks, along with their ability to significantly disrupt healthcare facilities and negatively impact patient care, has pushed cybersecurity attacks to the top of ECRI’s Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2022.

“The question is not whether a given facility will be attacked, but when,” said Marcus Schabacker, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of ECRI in a news release. “Responding to these risks requires not only a robust security program to prevent attacks from reaching critical devices and systems, but also a plan for maintaining patient care when they do. ECRI’s new guidance can help leaders be better prepared to protect their facilities and keep patients safe.”

COVID-19 introduced a host of new risks and hazards and topped ECRI’s list in 2021, pushing cybersecurity all the way down to number #7. However, with an increasing number of cyberattacks globally, the imminent threat cannot be ignored.

ECRI’s top 10 health technology hazards for this year are the following:

  1. Cybersecurity attacks can disrupt healthcare delivery and affect patient safety
  2. Supply chain shortfalls and vulnerabilities put patient care at risk
  3.  Damaged infusion pumps can cause medication errors
  4.  Insufficient emergency stockpiles could disrupt patient care during a public health emergency (i.e., the COVID-19 pandemic)
  5. Telehealth workflow and human factors deficiencies can lead to poor outcomes for both patients and providers
  6. Failure to follow syringe pump best practices can result in dangerous medication delivery errors and lead to serious clinical consequences
  7. AI-Based reconstruction can distort images and threaten diagnostic outcomes
  8. Poor duodenoscope reprocessing ergonomics and workflows put healthcare workers and patients at risk
  9. Disposable gowns with insufficient barrier protection (due to poor manufacturing quality) put wearers at risk
  10. Wi-Fi drops and dead zones can lead to patient care delays, injuries, and deaths

ECRI’s annual health technology hazards list is available for download on the organization’s website.

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