What’s the news: October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and it arrives not a moment too soon. Ransomware attacks across all industries grew by 118% in the first quarter of the year, according to the August 2019 McAfee Labs Threat Report, and recent news reports reveal that health care-related computer systems are becoming an increasingly popular target for cyber criminals.

The threat is global in scope. Recent victims include the DCH Regional Health System, a three-hospital public safety-net provider based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and two large health systems in southwest Australia.

Why it matters for patients and physicians: Cybersecurity is not just a technical issue; it’s a patient safety issue. AMA research has revealed that 83% of physicians work in a practice that has experienced some kind of cyberattack. Unfortunately, practices are learning that cyberattacks not only threaten the privacy and security of patients’ health and financial information, but also patient access to care.

Read more at AMA