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Keeping hospital administrators awake at night: cyberattacks

Unquestionably, we live in an age of cutting-edge and quickly evolving technologies, with that reality transforming life in fundamental ways.

The medical industry is hardly immune from technology's seismic effects, of course. On the plus side, astonishing advances in medical tools and equipment have revolutionized operating rooms and treatment therapies.

On the down side, though … .

Especially clear evidence of the deleterious effects that ever-sophisticated technology is having in the health care realm comes readily prefaced by one word, which is likely on the minds of hospital administrators in New York and elsewhere across the country every day.

And that is this: cyberattacks.

As noted in a recent media report on the hacking of medical records, the implications of a breach in hospital security are immediately apparent and infinitely scary.

For starters, a hack can force a medical facility to revert to prior processes -- at least temporarily -- that are time-consuming, comparatively inefficient and expensive.

And, even importantly, as noted in the above-cited article, a hacked hospital or clinic "can face fines [and lawsuits] and public scrutiny that can destroy a reputation built on decades of trust and success."

What can a medical facility do to respond purposefully to the very real threat posed by cyberattacks?

A lot, actually, beginning with a strong focus on proactive policies focused upon employee education, encrypted record-keeping devices and internal testing of systems to identify and shore up weaknesses.

Additionally, liability insurance should be responsive and up to date.

And hospital principals might reasonably want to discuss hacking, security concerns and related issues with attorneys at a law firm that routinely focuses upon health care clients. Proven lawyers can work with industry actors to develop a plan that addresses risks and seeks to mitigate them to the fullest extent possible.

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