ECRI has been publishing its annual report of health technology hazards for the past 15 years. According to ECRI’s Device Evaluation group, “the Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list identifies the potential sources of danger that we believe warrant the greatest attention for the coming year. The list does not necessarily enumerate the most frequently reported problems or the ones associated with the most severe consequences—although we do consider such information in our analysis. Rather, the list reflects our judgment about which risks should receive priority now.”

This year, ECRI named cybersecurity attacks as the #1 health technology hazard for 2022. According to ECRI, “Cybersecurity incidents don’t just interfere with business operations—they can disrupt patient care, posing a real threat of physical harm.” This includes the inability to offer care to patients, including the rescheduling of preventative and scheduled surgeries, to the closure of a unit or the entire facility.

ECRI notes that “Responding to these risks requires not only a robust security program to prevent attacks from reaching critical devices and systems, but also a plan for maintaining patient care when they do.”

Heath care providers and systems have been hit hard by cyber-attacks during the pandemic, and ECRI’s prediction is that the attacks will not abate in the coming year.