More than four out of every five doctors in the United States have experienced some form of a cybersecurity attack, according to research released this week by Accenture and the American Medical Association.

The  study, which examined the experiences of roughly 1,300 US-based physicians, clearly illustrates how big of a risk cybersecurity is to doctors and medical facilities. If anyone in the healthcare profession previously questioned whether or not his or her facility is a target for criminals, the current research should dispel any doubts.

In addition to the figures about how many doctors have already been cyberattacked, the study also found that more than half of doctors surveyed were "very or extremely" concerned about future cyberattacks against their practice. In addition, nearly three quarters of physicians were concerned that future attacks could interrupt their clinical practices or compromise the security of patient records, and over half of doctors worry that hackers could impact patients' physical safety. Think about that for a moment - if this study is correct, more than half of all American doctors are worried that hackers could physically harm their patients through a cyberattack.

As expected, the study shows that the most common type of cyberattack launched against doctors is phishing - more than half of physicians who experienced an attack reported that it was launched this way. In second place, with just under half of all attacked doctors reporting it as the means of attack that they experienced, was computer malware. Interestingly, according to the study's findings, physicians working in medium to large size practices appear to be twice as likely as those in small practices to experience these types of attacks.

In terms of the impact of cyberattacks against doctors, the study found that nearly two-thirds doctors who experienced a cyberattack experienced up to four hours of downtime before they were able to resume normal operations, and approximately one-third of physicians in medium-sized practices that experienced a cyberattack reported enduring nearly a full day of downtime.

What does this mean?

If you are a doctor, or work in a medical facility, make sure that your office is getting the professional cybersecurity advice that it needs. Hackers have experts on their side - you should want the same. In the meantime,  here are some tips to help keep you cybersafe.

Published on: Dec 14, 2017