Safeguarding the Future of Healthcare

By Sunil Sharma

From cyber crimes to government policies we cover the issues faced by Healthcare Industry

India’s healthcare industry is optimistic about promising initiatives such as National Health Protection Scheme, National Rural Health Mission etc. undertaken by Government of India. These initiatives are expected to change the dynamics of healthcare in India. Traditionally delivery of healthcare has been highly dependent on private sector due to limited infrastructure as a result the last mile has been deprived of an optimized healthcare support. In line with this, the promising initiatives by Government of India will act as a game changer. As per the reports by Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation healthcare industry has grown to $81.3 billion (Rs 54,086 lakh crore) in 2013 and is now projected to grow by 17% by 2020.

IT and Healthcare

Information technology has been a boon to the healthcare sector. For instance, a noteworthy progression that IT has provided to hospitals is the evolution of electronic medical records (EMR). This innovation facilitates transformation of medical information into a single database which allows healthcare providers to access significant patient information such as medical history, medications, insurance information, etc. with the click of a button. The Indian healthcare IT market is valued at $1billion and is likely to grow about 1.5 times by 2020, according to a report by IT industry body Nasscom. Increasing penetration of mobile technology and improved data services are expected to play a critical role in improving healthcare delivery in rural areas. Also, the completion of BharatNet, which will connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, will provide a solid backbone for access to the remotest of areas.

With all the digital developments, opens opportunities for the remote areas to come under the organized healthcare net, that will get individual records under the formal ecosystem of the industry. This points towards the need to develop a solid framework for security and privacy of healthcare information.

Cyber Safety

The healthcare industry is under threat from cyber-attacks. Soaring volumes of valuable personal data, stored on systems with lapse security controls, make a welcoming proposition for cyber criminals. But, it’s not only the severity or volumes of data breaches that are changing year-to-year, it is also the methods used by cyber criminals to access the data, and the techniques used for monetizing such activities.

Threats to the Industry

One of the prime threats faced by healthcare industry today is Ransomware. In a recent research conducted on the State of Endpoint Security Today, 76%  surveyed said that Healthcare sector was impacted the highest by ransomware. As cyber criminals know the importance of data for daily hospital operations, protection of large amounts of personal and medical data required for quick access to practitioners in India and globally is a daunting task for the Healthcare industry. Therefore, many will pay to avoid disruption.

Due to lack of trained staff and poorly protected systems, attackers manage to find organizations’ biggest security gaps and they’ll continue to exploit these weaknesses, until a collective shift in mindset can be realized. Organizations should understand their individual cyber security responsibilities, be aware of the consequences of negligent or malicious actions, and work with other stakeholders to identify ways to work in a safe and secure manner.

Here are Five tips for organizations to keep in mind:

  1. Do risk assessment so that you know what threats you face, understand the vulnerabilities and assess the likelihood of being attacked.
  2. Organizations often spend money on cybersecurity solutions but then fail to properly deploy them. Make sure you’re following the recommendations for best practice when deploying your defenses.
  3. Ensure you have a tried and tested incident response plan that can be implemented immediately to reduce the impact of the attack.
  4. It’s almost impossible to protect all your data all the time, so identify the information you keep that would harm your organization if it were stolen or unlawfully accessed and implement suitable data security procedures to ensure it is appropriately protected.
  5. With so many breaches being the result of something an employee has done – part of your cybersecurity plan must be to make sure all your staff know the risks they face and their responsibilities. Educating them is your job, and should be part of your plan.

Source: Entrepreneur

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