GNYHA, NYC Health + Hospitals (NYC H+H), and Northwell Health last week participated in a tabletop exercise on a hypothetical cybersecurity attack affecting two New York City-based health systems. The exercise, conducted and developed with New York City’s Office of Technology and Innovation, also included New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM), the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Fire Department of New York, and New York City Cyber Command.
Participants responded to a hypothetical scenario involving a coordinated citywide response to support continuity of hospital operations. Health systems detailed their internal processes for a cyberattack and educated City agencies on their plans, including using downtime procedures to ensure continuity of patient care and secure information technology systems. Hospitals described their ongoing relationship with NYCEM’s Health & Medical team and their process to engage with them when an incident occurs at one of their facilities. NYCEM described its response process to support hospitals, from facilitating coordination calls with hospitals and City agencies to activating its Emergency Operations Center (EOC). GNYHA discussed our role supporting hospitals during emergencies, including staffing our desk at NYCEM’s EOC and working with hospitals to connect them to resources. Other City agencies discussed ways to support hospitals, including amplifying messaging and diverting critical patients to the most appropriate hospital during the early hours of an incident.
Exercises, whether tabletop or full-scale, allow hospitals and government agencies to test their emergency procedures, identify gaps, and develop improvement plans. They also provide an opportunity for staff to understand the role they play during emergencies and disasters. GNYHA’s participation in tabletop exercises includes testing our role coordinating hospital members and government, acting as observers when hospitals ask us to, and supporting exercises with notifications from our Sit Sat situational awareness tool.