An interesting article in a publication called HealthIT Security reports that "ransomware" attacks against healthcare organizations soared during the 3rd quarter of 2017.
Ransomware is a type of malware that attacks and essentially steals electronic data. Ransom is then demanded from the victimized party in order to discontinue the attack and return the data.
For hospitals, this is a critical area because they cannot afford-- legally, financially or from a PR standpoint-- to have their medical records stolen. It also would create enormous problems with regulators. Therefore, many of them have apparently paid the ransom. It is the easy way out, but also can be very costly.
And these costs inevitably get passed along to patients and other payers. This type of situation has apparently become quite commonplace.
The electronic health record was sold to legislators in Washington and in Raleigh as a magic bullet that would confer enormous advantages and net positives that mandated their use. Few if any of these benefits have actually materialized. I am dubious that there will be huge advantages in the long run; but it has become exceedingly clear that electronic records have engendered numerous problems, including but not limited to the issue of ransomware.
In fact, Big Data was heavily greasing the respective palms of elected officials from both major parties; and that explains why electronic records were forced upon the health care industry. Socialism is extremely seductive for both Republicans and Democrats when campaign donations are attached to it.
Hospital records being held for ransom is a problem that didn't used to exist. But now we have become bystanders quietly questioning the Emperors' New Clothes.