Many Physicians Have Experienced a Cyberattack in Practice

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The AMA found that 8 in 10 physicians have experienced a cyberattack in practice.
The AMA found that 8 in 10 physicians have experienced a cyberattack in practice.

New research conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) and Accenture highlights the seriousness of cyberattacks in healthcare and the need for more cybersecurity support to thwart these attacks.

Researchers surveyed 1,300 physicians in the US between July 2017 to August 2017 to examine experiences and attitudes toward cybersecurity, data management and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines.

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Results showed that 83% of respondents have experienced some form of cybersecurity attack, of these 64% experienced up to 4 hours of downtime before they resumed operations. Twenty-nine percent of medium-sized practice physicians said they experienced a cyberattack that led to nearly a full day of downtime.

Phishing, the practice of sending fraudulent e-mails in an attempt to gain sensitive information, was cited as the most common type of cyberattack by 55% of physicians. In addition, nearly 50% of physicians reported being exposed to a computer virus. 

Click to view all results from the survey (Accenture, AMA).

“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,” said AMA President David O. Barbe, MD, MHA.

Regarding sharing personal data, 83% of respondents said that HIPAA compliance alone is insufficient and that a more holistic approach is needed. Moreover, 85% of physicians felt that sharing personal health data outside of their health system in a safe manner is "very" or "extremely" important; 67% of respondents noted that greater access to patient data would help them provide quality patient care more efficiently.


8 in 10 doctors have experienced a cyberattack in practice. AMA Wire. Published December 12, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.

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