In July 2018, a regional health care provider based in Missouri shut down its electronic health record (EHR) system — housing the digital equivalent of a patient’s paper-based health chart — to recover from a malicious ransomware attack. Hackers had successfully encrypted patient records, causing officials to restrict staff access for an extended period.
Fortunately for the health care provider, an incident-response plan was already in place, enabling staff to act quickly once the ransomware attack was discovered. While an outside forensics firm decrypted patient files and initiated recovery efforts, medical staff were able to continue providing general care to patients; they sent intensive cases, such as trauma and stroke patients, to other facilities to ensure their continued care. Grateful patients went so far as to visit the medical center’s social media platforms to leave glowing feedback on how well staff responded to the attack.
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