Sample Answer for NUR 514 Discuss a current news article on ransomware in the health care field Included After Question
NUR 514 Topic 7 DQ 1
Discuss a current news article on ransomware in the health care field. Share an example of how this can impact protected health information (PHI) and the requirements for privacy and confidentiality.
A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NUR 514 Discuss a current news article on ransomware in the health care field
Title: NUR 514 Discuss a current news article on ransomware in the health care field
One of the current news articles on ransomware in the healthcare field is the recent attack on Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) in May 2021. This was an attack that was believed to be carried out by a cybercrime group and caused disruption to the country’s health system. Disruption brought about the shutdown of the information technology system, including diagnostics, patient records, and appointment booking process (Duffy et al., 2023). This attack is a highlight of threats ransomware is likely to pause on security of patient data and the functioning of the services. This is a type of malicious software that encrypts victims computer systems and files, making them inaccessible until a ransom is paid. This could prevent the delivery of care, and according to the case of the HSE attack, the hackers demanded about $20 million in Bitcoin in exchange for decryption on restoring the system (Duffy et al., 2023).
There are different results related to the impact of the attack on patient data and privacy. HSE has sensitive personal information for millions of individuals medical records and prescriptions or personally identifiable information. The data may be used for fraud and other malicious purposes as part of the impact. These attacks raised questions regarding the privacy and confidentiality of the patient information. Healthcare providers have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect the privacy and security of patient data. In the case of a data breach or cyber attack, they are required to engage in notifying individuals or regulatory bodies, including the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) (McGonigle & Mastrain, 2021).
In preventing similar attacks in the future and safeguarding patient data, health facilities must comply with strict privacy and security regulations. This includes the protection of the data, such as consideration of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The regulations require the implementation of robust security measures to have regular risk assessments and contingency plans that are put in place to support security. In summary, a ransomware attack on Ireland’s HSE remains one of the growing threats to patient private data within the health sector. As health professionals, there has been digitization of stored information that is sensitive. There should be an emphasis on cyber security and compliance with privacy regulations to safeguard the data of the patients. This may include taking patterns supporting compliance with privacy regulations and safeguarding the patient data. Failure to consider these factors may result in damaging the reputation of the organization and risking patients’ information.
Duffy, C., Murray, C., Boran, G., Srinivasan, R., Kane, A., & Leonard, A. (2023). Survey of Laboratory Medicine’s national response to the HSE cyberattack in the Republic of Ireland. Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971-), 1-8.
McGonigle, D. &, Mastrain, K. (2021). Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge. (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
I remember in May 2021, there were reports on the local news in San Diego, California that the second largest healthcare system in San Diego, Scripps Health, had been cyberattacked. It prevented two of the four major facilities from using its electronic health record system and technology for about one month. In a news article, it states “Scripps Health stated its primary Epic medical record system wasn’t compromised, however prior to the ransomware deployment the attackers got files that had patient data such as names, birth dates, addresses, health insurance data, medical record numbers, patient account numbers, and certain clinical details like doctors’ names, dates of service, and treatment data. The hackers also obtained the Social Security numbers and/or driver’s license numbers of approximately 3,700 individuals.” (Scripps Health Ransomware Attack Impacts 147,000 Patients, 2021). Since this breach in privacy, some of the affected patients are pursing legal action stating that their right to privacy was not maintained. Indeed, “Under the Privacy Rule, patients have a right to expect privacy protections that limit the use and disclosure of their health information. Under the Security Rule, providers are obligated to safeguard their patients’ health information from improper use or disclosure and maintain the integrity of the information and ensure its availability” (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2022). Though I am no lawyer, it is clear that protected health information (PHI) was revealed. Because of this HIPPA legislation, the privacy and security rules enforce that the healthcare organization must notify the patient if their PHI was disclosed and gives patients the right to complain if they perceive that the privacy and security of their healthcare information has been compromised in some way (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2022). The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is part of HHS, and it is where patients can make their complaints to and is it also the department that will enforce HIPAA by investigating any violations(McGonigle & Mastrian, 2022). To this day, I remember this incident in the news because I remember our hospital having to receive patients that would have otherwise gone to Scripps Health for health care. I also remember feeling concerned for the healthcare staff who were having to revert to paper charting for a whole month due to this cyberattack.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2022). Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge (Fifth). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Scripps Health Ransomware Attack Impacts 147,000 Patients. (2021, June 4). HIPPA INFO. https://www.hipaa.info/scripps-health-ransomware-attack-impacts-147000-patients/