The Healthcare industry is one of the most important sectors of any economy. Not only because of the immense costs involved there but also because of its life-saving nature. Be it population care, epidemic control, living standards, disease prevention or anything else fundamental to the biology of human survival, we head towards the healthcare industry.
There are no doubts about the fact that the healthcare industry is helping save more than a few lives and helping improve the living standards of the population. But, we cannot even turn a blind eye towards the point that the population of the world is increasing and many new conditions and diseases are being spotted. Therefore, healthcare needs the intervention of technological forces from the world to progress at rapid speeds and be able to cater to the demands of the rising population.
Technology and the Healthcare
Technology is the driving force of innovation in today’s world. Be in any sector of the economy, or walk of life, technology has penetrated every segment and is transforming it for the better. Moreover, plenty of emerging technologies are impacting the world and helping it solve one of the toughest challenges on the planet. For example, technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning have changed the fate of several businesses and made them sustainable in the market.
When applied to the healthcare sector, these technologies are helping doctors diagnose diseases better, and simplify the operations of the medical institutions and hospitals to a great extent. Moreover, in many cases, it is also beating the doctors in the diagnosis of a particular disease and saving many lives at a much faster rate than ever before.
But, for these technologies to operate, the entire shift of the healthcare system must be towards digitization. Just like every other industry is out there on digital mediums, the healthcare industry too needs to sail with the winds of change. For this reason and for the simplification of several processes, digital concepts like the electronic health records were first introduced in the healthcare system. While this presents a huge opportunity for people trying to deploy various technologies on top of the healthcare IT services, it also has its downsides.
Data is a Prized Possession
Digitizing entire processes might seem all dreamy because they help streamline several systems and enable people to see through the data clearly, there emerges a problem of data vulnerability. Data is one of the most prized possessions in today’s world, which means a lot can be done over it. It has monetary value, making it more susceptible to modern frauds and illegal maneuvers.
Healthcare data is extremely valuable in today’s world for a variety of reasons. It contains the private information of patients who approach a medical institution or hospital for treatment. This might include information about their demographics, medical history, name, profile, background and others. All this data, which is used by medical experts to make decisions about a patient or suggest a particular course of action, can be used by hackers for a variety of purposes. Once stolen they can be tampered with, creating a risk for patients out there. This may risk their lives along with the damage that is caused to intellectual property.
Due to an individual’s personally identifiable information, the healthcare data is sold at huge costs in the black market. A recent statistics by the Trustware report suggest that a healthcare record might be valued at up to $250 per record in the black market. With such great desirability of the data and huge monetary gains, hackers and cyber attackers keep their eye on it every moment. With one single vulnerable spot, medical organizations can lose a lot of data causing them monetary and intellectual losses to a great extent.
Adding to this, healthcare breaches have increased to an astonishing 150 percent in the last few years. And even with all this data on reports, there is no slowing down of these attacks. However, one of the most popular sources of these data attacks is getting access through third-party vendors. Similarly, the most popular ways of attacking include ransomware, malicious SQL injections that penetrate through emails, websites or during the installation of software.
One of the worst things about these attacks is that they go undetected over a period of time. Take the attack on the American Medical Collection Agency in 2019 as an example. A business associate of the healthcare providers reported that there was a breach going on for eight months in the organization that had potentially out the healthcare data of as many as 20 million patients at risk.
With all these statistics and new cases reported every now and then, it becomes important for organizations to take a note of their data sharing process and third-party vendor services. Ignorance can not just lead to a risk in patient care but also damage the reputation of an organization.
With healthcare moving rapidly towards digitization, the sharing of data is becoming more and more important. The efforts of multiple organizations can help yield a powerful solution for a particular problem. But,t his means that the data had to be out on a cloud-based sharing system, ultimately making it vulnerable. Therefore, organizations must make a constant effort to invest in adequate security solutions and keep them updated from time to time. Security inspections and time to time vulnerability checks must also be undertaken. It is imperative to remember that security is fundamental to the healthcare system, and not something to be considered as an option.