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Study shows increased cyber security can affect patient outcomes

How health care systems adjust their cyber security after a breach may affect patient outcomes, according to a study published in Health Services Research.

The study found that “breach remediation efforts were associated with deterioration in timeliness of care and patient outcomes.” In the study, “hospital quality was measured by 30‐day acute myocardial infarction mortality rate and time from door to electrocardiogram.”

In their review of hospitals that had reported breaches, researchers found that “hospital time‐to‐electrocardiogram increased as much as 2.7 minutes and 30‐day acute myocardial infarction mortality increased as much as 0.36 percentage points during the 3‐year window following a breach.”

After a breach, hospitals typically take corrective actions to enhance privacy and security. Yet, these actions “may introduce usability — which we define as the ease of use — problems,” according to the authors of the study.

“New security procedures typically alter how clinicians access and use clinical information in health information systems and may disrupt the provision of care as providers require additional time to learn and use the new or modified systems.”

Read the full study here.