Healthcare industry is on a technological transformation journey. Digital healthcare is bringing about flexibility and adaptability in how patient and healthcare provider interactions happen. We are moving towards a connected healthcare where patient data is shared amongst various healthcare providers to enable a quicker, better and always connected treatment and care to the patient. With the advent of digital healthcare applications, the focus is changing from being patient initiated reactive treatment to being analways-on, always-connected human centric eco system where the health conditions can be predicted, diagnosed, monitored and treated all with just a smartphone in our pocket. We are truly moving from being illness focused to wellness focused. Along with this, digital healthcare also has the potential to solve the last mile connectivity problem for healthcare in developing and under-developed world.
Digitalisation of healthcare brings its own unique challenges around integrity, confidentiality and availability of patient data.
A significant increase in adoption and use of electronic medical records and other healthcare technology has created a wealth of electronic information that includes patient data such as date of birth, home addresses, insurance details and medical records. This valuable information is being increasingly targeted by cyber attackers. Along with this, clinical trial data is a lucrative target for stealing intellectual property.
Healthcare providers are sharing more data than ever before in order to improve collaborative care while increasing patient engagement through portals and mobile applications and a large number of people ranging from hospital staff, doctor’s offices, insurance companies and other healthcare organisations require access to patient records. The data itself is spread across a number of specialised medical devices & mobile devices apart from standard computing devices, requiring a whole new set of considerations for securing the data while keeping is available.
Despite all these unique challenges, cyber security is not a priority for healthcare organisations as their primary purpose is saving and improving lives.
Data breaches are not unique to healthcare but healthcare date breaches result in harming this relationship of trust between patients and healthcare organisations. Breaches are occurring in hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, health insurance companies and more. With loss of healthcare data, patients may suffer personal financial loss in contrast to credit card identity theft where card providers are generally responsible for account holder’s losses.Loss of trust in healthcare providers will result in loss of patient’s trust resulting in loss of future patient revenues.
Along with the loss of trust relationship with patients and future patient revenue losses, the healthcare organisations themselves are at risk of reputational damage, financial impacts, legal & regulatory expense and fines, operational expenses as well as clinical considerations where patient data’s availability, integrity and confidentiality are impacted.
It is vitally important for healthcare organizations to implement a robust cyber security program to safeguard patient data to prevent losses resulting from data breaches.
PlasmIT Cyber Security Point of View
The need of hour for healthcare sector is a proactive, managed approach to cybersecurity designed to protect entire IT ecosystems regardless of the types of systems, applications and devices that are connected to the network. A proactive cybersecurity strategy will enable healthcare providers to anticipate and prevent breaches.