Asymmetric Consequences of Cyber-Vulnerability on Health Services
33 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 2, 2020
Healthcare IT is crucial to both the healthcare industry and patients. However, at the same time, it leaves health systems vulnerable to cyber attacks. This paper explores the resilience of health services to cyber attacks. Specifically, we look at the effect of the WannaCry cyber attack in May 2017, on the National Health Service England. We document three important empirical facts: First, we find evidence for disruption to all three types of services offered – outpatient treatments, inpatient admissions and accident & emergency – though these disruptions were relatively short-lived. Second, hospitals managed to in general pursue strategies which minimized disruptions to the most ill patients. Third, the disruption affected those with lower incomes and more disadvantaged racial groups more negatively.
Keywords: Cybersecurity, healthcare, information technology, NHS
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