Mark Hagland in Healthcare Innovation reported that senior clinician and IT leaders at the University of California San Diego Health system (UC San Diego Health) broke new conceptual ground last month when they appointed an emergency physician with accreditation in clinical informatics, to be that health system’s medical director of cybersecurity—in their understanding, the first such appointment in U.S. healthcare.
Christopher Longhurst, UC San Diego Health’s chief information officer and associate chief medical officer, and Ted Chan, M.D., chair of emergency medicine, announced that Christian Dameff, M.D., had been named medical director of cybersecurity for the health system. Dr. Dameff is the first graduate of the ACGME-accredited fellowship in clinical informatics at UC San Diego, and completed his fellowship training while working clinically in the emergency department (ED). Prior to his fellowship, Dr. Dameff had graduated from medical school at the University of Arizona and completed his residency training in emergency medicine at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix.
In an interview, Dameff made this interesting observation: “Another thing I want to focus on is cyber preparedness. Hospitals have plans in place for earthquakes and hurricanes and other natural disasters. There’s a dearth of guidance around what to do when you are hit with ransomware, or by Anonymous, as happened at Boston children’s. A big element will be table-topping and simulating, so that every person involved in an emergency response, has seen it before and can be prepared. And it’s important not only for us as an institution, but also to do this on a national stage. I think we’ll have a lot of other institutions partnering with us, but I’d imagine we’ll have some federal agencies getting involved with us.”
What great foresight! Other healthcare organizations should take note.