Hospital Ransomware Attack Impacts Two Northern New Jersey Facilities

12 February 2024

AUTHORED BY: DB Technology

Late last year, two hospitals in Northern New Jersey, Hackensack Meridian’s Mountainside Medical Center and Pascack Valley Medical Center, became the victims of a ransomware attack. This event caused widespread disruption and forced the hospital emergency departments to divert critical care patients.

The attack not only affected these two facilities but also had ripple effects on other hospitals under the organizational umbrella in other states like Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. This highlights the severity and scale of ransomware attacks, which can have far-reaching consequences beyond their initial targets.

For the hospitals in New Jersey, they were only able to complete basic assessments as a result of the attack. Fortunately, patient care was not adversely impacted, although this is not always the case. One way to minimize such risks during an attack is to have a hospital downtime solution in place.

What is a Hospital Ransomware Attack?

Hospital ransomware attacks are a form of cyber extortion in which hackers disable key computer systems and demand money to return them to service. While banks and government institutions are typical targets for ransomware attacks, hospitals are hit due to the critical nature of their services and the perceived likelihood that they will pay a ransom to regain access to their systems quickly.

Healthcare systems house a trove of sensitive patient data and rely heavily on their electronic systems for nearly every aspect of patient care. Consequently, the immobilization of these systems through a ransomware attack can lead to severe disruptions. This results in a compromised ability to provide critical care services, putting patient’s lives at risk. 

The Cost of Network Downtime Resulting From a Ransomware Attack

Startling statistics over the years have indicated the resulting financial losses from hospital ransomware attacks, with the average payout for hospital ransomware attacks being around $197,000. Furthermore, a 2023 report found that ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations cost approximately $77.5 billion in downtime, and organizations were shut down for an average of two weeks.

Fortunately, hospitals can employ downtime solutions to mitigate the effects of such attacks, minimizing operational and financial impact. The use of this technology allows for quicker recovery times and minimizes disruption to patient care. This is especially critical in emergencies where time and accuracy are of the essence.

Using Downtime Solution to Keep Operations Up & Running 

A downtime solution is a proactive solution that hospitals can employ to minimize the impact of ransomware attacks. This solution works by automating data backup and recovery processes, allowing hospitals to quickly recover systems in the event of an attack. In turn, care providers can continue accessing and entering patient data as usual, enabling the facility to remain open and functioning during the recovery process.

The benefits of implementing a downtime solution include:

Promote Staff Efficiency: With a downtime solution, staff can continue accessing electronic workflows and patient data during network downtime. This eliminates the need to revert to time-consuming and error-prone paper-based processes.

Ensure Continuity of Patient Care: Downtime solutions allows hospitals to maintain access to critical patient information, enabling care providers to make informed decisions with minimal disruption. Moreover, the elimination of paper helps reduce the chances of errors and ensures accuracy. 

Enhanced Compliance: Paper-based processes during network downtime can introduce compliance risks and increase the chances of data loss and inaccuracy as a result of lost or misplaced documents or illegible handwriting. A downtime solution reduces these risks by keeping data secure, error-free, and easily accessible.

Contact dbtech & Reduce the Impact of Network Downtime 

Implementing downtime solutions for hospitals is a crucial step in shielding these facilities from the destructive impact of ransomware attacks. It promotes seamless operation, protects patient data, and ensures the continuity of care during periods of network outage. Amid growing cybersecurity threats, it is more important than ever for hospitals to adopt robust and proactive strategies to reduce the potential impact. 

Contact dbtech today and discover how our downtime solutions can fortify your hospital’s defense against network downtime. 

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