Friday, November 6, 2020

‘Tis the Season

Last week, a joint Federal taskforce, led by the FBI, notified healthcare systems and hospitals across our nation about an imminent cybersecurity threat that has already resulted in attacks on more than two dozen hospitals. Those attacked have suffered the loss of IT systems and are running on paper documentation, causing major patient safety concerns. The criminals make ransom requests in the millions of dollars. 

These attacks are taking advantage of healthcare’s focus on the pandemic and individuals’ focus on the election. Unlike other attacks, this group is specifically targeting U.S. based healthcare with the intent to disrupt. Those leading the attack are from a Russian speaking foreign group. U.S. intelligence has intercepted communications that indicate more hospitals are being targeted this week.  

Our cybersecurity team, led by David Hynson, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, quickly and proactively implemented safeguards to help protect the systems that we rely on to deliver care.  

However, we know that the weak link in our defenses is us! Everyone must be vigilant and have a questioning attitude. Be especially careful when you receive an email from an unknown sender or if it contains an unfamiliar email address or subject matter. Here are some key safety behaviors:

--Do NOT click on or copy links in an email, instead type the site url into a new browser window.
--Do NOT open or download email attachments, instead utilize the phishing button in Outlook, or you can call the sender directly to verify that they sent the attachment and/or call the IT Service Desk (ext. 3725).
--Conduct personal business on personal devices (i.e. online shopping, personal emails, etc.).
--Know your area’s downtime procedures. Towards this end, we will begin doing downtime drills on weekdays.  

If you need assistance, our IT Service Desk is available 24/7 to support you. For more IT resources and information on safeguards that are currently in place during this threat period, please visit the main page of the Infoweb (What’s New section). 

Remember, if something does not look right, please contact our IT department. Thank you for your help and for doing your part to keep our systems safe!

National Medical Staff Services Professionals Awareness Week
This week is National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week, and I would like to recognize the important role that our medical services professionals play in our healthcare system. They work behind the scenes to ensure our providers are properly credentialed, licensed, and trained in their respective specialties. Often called the “gatekeepers of patient safety,” medical staff professionals are critical to our system’s high safety and quality standards. Please join me in thanking them this week. 

I want to congratulate our Chairman of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Robert K. Brookland, and his department for being awarded a three-year re-accreditation in radiation oncology as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Re-accreditation is given to health facilities that meet specific ACR-developed practice guidelines and technical standards, following a stringent peer-review evaluation by board-certified radiation oncologists and medical physicists who are experts in the field. This designation is an honor and reflects GBMC’s ongoing commitment to excellence in cancer care.

GBMC Health Partners at Padonia Update
Since its official opening approximately three weeks ago, our GBMC Health Partners practice at Padonia, has been growing rapidly. This early success could not have been possible without the hard work of many, including Senior Ambulatory Practice Manager, Ericka Easley. Ericka has done an excellent job in leading the team, along with Sarah Whiteford, MD, and making sure that each patient receives the care that we would want for our loved ones. Thank you, Ericka!

Our Democracy is Strong
The United States of America was built on the principle of majority rule. It is very exciting to see so many people exercising their right to vote. We have the right to debate who are the best candidates to lead our government, but once the results are in, the citizens have spoken and we all must accept the results. I ask all my GBMC colleagues to work to bring people together to strengthen our democracy and improve our nation, no matter the results of the election. Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking time to read "A Healthy Dialogue" and for commenting on the blog. Comments are an important part of the public dialogue and help facilitate conversation. All comments are reviewed before posting to ensure posts are not off-topic, do not violate patient confidentiality, and are civil. Differing opinions are welcome as long as the tone is respectful.