83% of US physicians have experienced a cyberattack

According to a study released by Accenture and the American Medical Association (AMA), 83 percent of U.S. physicians have experienced some form of a cybersecurity breach.

The study, which included responses from 1,300 American physicians, outlined current trends in tackling cyber threats in healthcare. Additionally, researchers hope the research will push the healthcare industry to make improvements to current cybersecurity systems.

“The important role of information sharing within clinical care makes healthcare a uniquely attractive target for cyber criminals through computer viruses and phishing scams that, if successful, can threaten care delivery and patient safety,” said AMA President David O. Barbe, MD, MHA. “New research shows that most physicians think that securely exchanging electronic data is important to improve healthcare. More support from the government, technology and medical sectors would help physicians with a proactive cybersecurity defense to better ensure the availability, confidentially and integrity of health care data.”

Findings included:

  • 55 percent of physicians were very of extremely concerned about the future of cyber-attack in their practice.
  • 74 percent were most concerned future attacks could disrupt their clinical practices or compromise the security of patient records; 53 percent were most concerned about the impact to patient safety.
  • Phishing was reported as the most common type of cyber attack with 55 percent experiencing it, followed by computer viruses at 48 percent.
  • Physicians in medium and large practices were twice as likely as small practice physicals to experience cyberattacks.
  • 64 percent of all physicians who had experienced a cyberattack reported systems being down for at least four hours before resuming; 29 percent of those in medium practices reported a full day of downtime.
  • 85 percent of physicians believe it is important to share personal health data outside of their health system.
  • Two-thirds believe improved access to patient data inside (67 percent) and outside (65 percent) their health system would improve patient care quality.
  • 83 percent of physicians believe HIPAA compliance alone cannot provide full coverage in identifying risks.

“Physician practices should not rely on compliance alone to enhance their security profile,” said Kaveh Safavi, MD, JD, head of Accenture’s global health practice. “Keeping pace with the sophistication of cyberattacks demands that physicians strengthen their capabilities, build resilience and invest in new technologies to support a foundation of digital trust with patients.”