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Cybersecurity: Essential for Protecting EMS Professionals, Patients

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Blog topics:  Archive


Chetrice Mosley-RomeroBy Chetrice Mosley-Romero

May 19, 2021

In its 46th year, EMS Week honors our frontline heroes, whose dedication for providing emergency care and lifesaving medicine saves so many lives every day.

Of course, with every call, there is an inherent risk to their own safety and well-being when it comes to taking care of their patients and doing everything, they can to get them out of harm's way, safely and securely.

Perhaps, it's fitting that this year's theme for EMS Week is "Caring for Our Community" and it's important that as we show our appreciation for the essential services, they provide for all of us, we recognize the fact there is another inherent risk that can have a devastating impact involving both the EMS professionals and their patients; a threat that comes from a cybersecurity incident or cyberattack.

Having a strong and resilient cybersecurity system -- maintained by those on the frontline in 911 call centers and staff who are skilled in cybersecurity and IT -- is a critical line of defense that provides protection for both the patient and EMS professional. In fact, cybersecurity is vital for helping to make sure those 911 calls get through and are answered, as well as keeping secure the equipment being used to care for a patient at the scene is working properly. It is also a critical factor for keeping the operations of an entire hospital or health care facility online.

Keep in mind, too, cyber criminals will try and steal a patient's personal data and financial information (including their bank accounts and savings), as well as their medical identity, in which someone's physical condition could be used to commit insurance fraud or worse. In one case, a New York mother was accused of having recently delivered a baby that tested positive for methamphetanine. Child protective services personnel were working to take away her children because of this accusation. In reality, another woman who had been using drugs had used the mother's stolen medical identity to pay for the birth of her child.

According to a recent article on, cybersecurity is about managing risk. To help protect those on the front lines, there are three important practices - also known as the CIA triad - to follow:

  • Confidentiality - ensuring only the people who should have access to data do.
  • Integrity - ensuring that the data entered into the system is the same when it comes out.
  • Availability - making sure that systems are up and running when they are needed.

Here in Indiana, cybersecurity is a high priority in keeping safe more than 24,000 EMS providers throughout the Hoosier state, who represent some 800 agencies, answering more than 2,000 calls per day. As the Cybersecurity Program Director for the State of Indiana, we are grateful for their tireless work and we encourage everyone to join in celebrating EMS Week. For more information, visit the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) website at: and for the latest cybersecurity news, resources and trends, go to the Indiana Cybersecurity Hub, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.