Most physicians hit by cyberattacks remain interested in new technology

December 15, 2017
Medicare Web

Although most physicians have experienced a cyberattack, they still value the ability to share electronic protected health information (PHI), according to an American Medical Association report released December 11.

Based on a survey of 1,300 physicians asked about their attitudes towards cyberthreats and the impact of technology, the report identified five key statistics that illustrate physician challenges.

Cyberattacks are common at physician practices and can interrupt operations, the report stated. Most (83%) physicians said their practice has experienced some type of cyberattack. The survey also dug into the types of cyberattacks physician practices most often experience. Phishing attacks are the most common (55%), followed by viruses or malware (48%), and employee or insider inappropriately accessing PHI (37%), according to the report.

More than half (55%) of physicians said they were very concerned or concerned about future cyberattacks, according to the report. When asked about future cyberattacks, the majority (74%) said they were most concerned about interruption to business, such as EHR access. A physician concern of equal measure (74%) is EHR security, including compromised patient data. More than half (53%) said the impact on patient safety was a top concern. Encouragingly, only 6% said they were concerned because they did not have back-up records.

Nevertheless, most physicians surveyed believe new technologies and improved data sharing will help them and their patients. Almost half (44%) said that sharing electronic patient data with outside entities is extremely important and 41% said it was very important. Respondents were asked how improved data access could help them deliver better care. Most (67%) said electronic access to patient data from organizations within their health system to which they do not currently have access would best help them provide better, more efficient care.

Physicians are interested in adopting new technology, the report said. Respondents were asked to choose from a list of emerging technologies and indicate when or if they plan to implement them. The most popular was telemedicine, with 33% of respondents saying they plan to adopt it within the next year. A little more than a quarter (28%) said they plan to adopt patient-generated health data within a year, and 21% said they plan to give security a boost by adopting risk-based security (analytics) within a year.

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