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Health Center Resilience in the Face of Cyber Adversity


A Case Study of the Family Health Center of Worcester's Ransomware Incident, February 2024

Year Developed: 2024

Resource Type: Publication.

Primary Audience: Administrative Staff Clinicians Outreach Staff
Secondary Audience: Board of Directors C-Suite (CEOs, CFOs, CIO, COOs, CMOs, etc.) Enabling Staff Outreach Staff

Language(s): English

Developed by: HITEQ (See other resources developed by this organization).

Resource Summary: The use of ransomware -- malicious software that restricts access to computer systems with financial demands -- has escalated, targeting health centers and putting countless lives at risk. This dire reality came to the forefront during the alarming ransomware attack on the Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc. (FHCW), where the personal health information and care continuity for thousands of patients were compromised. This resource uses FHCW's experience as a case study to demonstrate the imperative of preparedness and the strength of a community-centered response in ensuring the continuity of healthcare services amidst the ever-growing tide of cyber vulnerabilities.

Resource Topic: Health Information Technology (HIT)/Data, Promising Practice

Resource Subtopic: Electronic Health Records (EHRs), Privacy and Security, Operational Feasibility.

Keywords: Communication, Transparency, and Outreach, Evaluation, Health Information Exchange (HIE), Implementation Tools, Integrated Care, Legal Issues, Non-Clinical Services, Planning, Policies and Procedures, Privacy/Protected Health Information (e.g., Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)), Risk Management.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,625,000 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.