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The future of cybersecurity in health care

Managing emerging cybersecurity threats in health care

In the future of health, nearly everything will be connected through digital technologies to meet the common goal of improving patient well-being and care. And cyber will be integral to each of these exciting advancements. Explore six key factors driving cyber in the future of health care, the cybersecurity considerations that accompany them, and the steps leaders can take to manage evolving cybersecurity threats.

The evolving role of cybersecurity in health care

Imagine a world where you wake up every morning and your personalized device tells you exactly which supplements to take based on your nutrition, environment, activity, and stress levels over the past week. Health care is evolving into a new era where nearly everything is connected through digital technologies to meet the common goal of improving the way health care is delivered to patients. In this future, there is no more guessing; consumers will know how to take their health into their own hands.

Underlying all of these exciting developments is cyber. And the risks surrounding cybersecurity in health care will only increase as the future of health takes shape. This report takes a critical look at six key factors driving cyber in the future of health, the cybersecurity issues associated with them, and the steps leaders can take to manage evolving cybersecurity threats in health care.

What we can expect to see in the future of health?

  • Radically interoperable data that empowers hyper-engaged customers to sustain well-being.
  • Always-on sensors and platforms that capture data and platforms that aggregate, store, and drive insights.
  • Prospective and predictive care that adapts to the needs of the empowered consumer.

Cyber in the future of health

In the future of health, data will be more widely shared, collected, and analyzed. Health care organizations will be positioned to create new value from this previously unavailable information, using it to drive operational efficiencies and enhance consumer engagement. As this transformation advances, organizations will need to pay closer attention to data privacy and take steps to modernize data protection standards. They will also face added pressure to establish better awareness, detection, and response capabilities for cybersecurity threats in health care.

With the future of health care taking shape sooner than predicted—in large part due to COVID-19—leaders should prepare for the rapidly changing risk landscape that comes with progress and innovation. They can start by understanding the six drivers that are likely to play a key role in defining the future of cyber and cybersecurity in health care.

Typical data privacy and cybersecurity practices in health care are not known for being agile or adapting to change quickly. These groups should be integrated into pilot efforts run by nontraditional departments within the organization so they can benefit from insights and learnings that could make their people, process, technology, and data capabilities more agile and forward-looking. Doing so can not only help cyber adapt to fast-moving change, but also enable more successful digital health–related innovation within their organizations.

Across many industries, by 2023, organizations that are part of a connected digital business ecosystem will have 40% of their customer service cases initiated by business partners in that ecosystem. A challenge for health care organizations will be trusting the devices and data they generate, which may often be outside their control. Securing these ecosystems is integral to their achievements and those of the digitally powered and virtual health care services they provide.

The number of devices will significantly increase in the future of health care, as will their value in the health care ecosystem. The challenge for health care organizations will be trusting the devices and data they generate, which may often be outside their control. From wearables and home-based telemetry devices, managing the security and privacy risks for these types of devices and the data they produce will be a front-and-center priority.

The future of health will be characterized by lots of devices, lots of data, and lots of sharing—which will make radically interoperable data and open platforms key enablers of the innovative services and delivery models on the health care horizon. These same forces will also make digital privacy a high priority. Health care organizations will need to account for privacy, ethics, and other considerations when designing and creating data flows.

During this pandemic, AI projects have accelerated in health care, bioscience, and health-related sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, and supply chain. Proactive threat analysis on AI applications and protection of AI source data and algorithms are just a few of the strategies organizations should be prepared to use to enable the ethical design and governance of this powerful technology. Adapting a holistic framework for trustworthy AI and AI ethics can help organizations mold their cybersecurity capabilities to address emerging threats and ethical risks from the application of AI- and machine-based decisions.

As the future of health takes shape and consumers assert more control over their health decisions, cybersecurity and data privacy solutions should be easy to consume if they are to be viable. Having a 15-character password that must be changed every 30 to 60 days may not be an effective way to engage consumers seeking access to health services from their personal devices. And if individuals don’t have visibility into their personal data and how it is being used, they may be reluctant to share it with organizations.

Cybersecurity in health care: Preparing for a promising and secure future

Health care is on the brink of many seismic shifts. Innovations and external factors will continue to elevate and introduce new risks. Now more than ever, it is imperative for cybersecurity and privacy to become fully integrated, by design, in the piloting and deployment of new health care services and solutions. And industry players are beholden to responsibly embrace the drivers of change and the challenges to come, not only to deliver on the promise of the future of health, but also to enable a safe and secure tomorrow.

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