Hospitals that have been hit by a data breach or ransomware attack can expect to see an increase in the death rate among heart patients in the following months or years because of cybersecurity remediation efforts, a new study posits. Health industry experts say the findings should prompt a larger review of how security — or the lack thereof — may be impacting patient outcomes. Researchers at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management took the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) list of healthcare data breaches and used it to drill down on data about patient mortality rates at more than 3,000 Medicare-certified hospitals, about 10 percent of which had experienced a data breach. As PBS noted in its coverage of the Vanderbilt study, after data breaches as many as 36 additional deaths per 10,000 heart attacks occurred annually at the hundreds of hospitals examined. The researchers found that for care centers that experienced a breach, it took an additional 2.7 minutes for suspected heart attack patients to receive an electrocardiogram. "Breach remediation efforts were associated with deterioration in timeliness of care and patient outcomes," the authors found. "Remediation activity may introduce changes that delay, complicate or disrupt health IT and patient care processes." Leo Scanlon, former deputy chief information security officer at the HHS, said the findings in this report practically beg for a similar study to be done in the United Kingdom,…
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