Despite the chasm caused by the attack on WannaCry, health systems continue to be threatened by attacks that might endanger the safety of patients, say researchers who demand further investment.
The National Health service remains vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and researchers have claimed that it needs to take action to avoid incidents that could jeopardize patient safety.
An Institute of Global Health Innovation report by Imperial College London warns hospitals that the aging of computer systems, a lack of investing and lack of safety skills are at risk.
It stated that a cyber-surgery could prevent physicians from accessing essential patient details or from working properly on medical equipment or devices or from stolen patient information.
More investment has been called for urgently by the researchers. It said that NHS trusts must add more cyber security professionals on their IT teams and add “firebreaks” to their systems to make it possible to isolate parts of the network if they have computer virus. He said hospitals need clear systems for communication, so that staff knows where to get cyber security help and advice.
The report further indicated that safety in the design of these technologies needs to be integrated in the implementation of new technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, implantation of medical devices and personalized medicines.
Even if it was not specifically targeted, the NHS had a major cyberattack already. The Wanna Cry attack in 2017 disrupted health systems and canceled thousands of appointments and sometimes diverted the patients to other hospitals. The total costs were estimated at around £ 92 million for the NHS attack.
The report’s lead author Dr. Saira Ghafur: “Since the WannaCry attack in 2017, there has been considerable increase in awareness of cyber-attack risk. However, further initiatives and awareness are still needed, as well as an enhancement in the’ hygienic’ security of cybersecurity to address the clear and present danger posed by such incidents.” Although the demand for a major digital transformation agenda from politicians and medics is present, there is little money to help although the Government promised 150 million pounds in April of last year for IT security throughout the NHS.