The New Face of Healthcare
Healthcare is currently undergoing a digital transformation that rivals the development of autonomous vehicles in the automobile industry. In fact, there are connections between improved healthcare and autonomous vehicle development . Digital transformation is a buzzword that evokes many grand ideas. In healthcare, one article succinctly articulated it : “Digital transformation in healthcare is the positive impact of technology in healthcare”.
Some of the positive outcomes of digital transformation in healthcare include the rise of telemedicine, the development of internet-enabled medical devices, and medical practice and education via virtual reality technology. These developments are enhanced by the emergence of 5G technologies, bringing real-time care into sharp focus. This is an extraordinary convergence of technologies. With these intertwined technologies, one must consider the security and privacy implications. A trained healthcare security practitioner is best suited to meet these challenges.
As with all internet-connected devices, it is easy to contemplate the obvious risks of remote access by malicious actors. The ability to disrupt or terminate the normal operation of an implanted device is more than a serious concern; it is a life and death concern. The ability to remotely control a moving automobile on a highway is dangerous, but the ability to interrupt a medical device is perilous.
As more medical and therapeutic practices embrace mobile technology, the risks associated with mobile device management become foremost in a medical setting. A healthcare security and privacy practitioner must carefully manage the devices on which their staff conduct business.
In some cases, a medical device itself may be secure, but the ability to attach a peripheral device can present a risk of compromise to the medical device.
Similarly, the privacy of a telemedicine session , as well as the confidentiality of medical records is equally important. Failure to use a compliant telemedicine application could lead to eavesdropping . New ransomware strains, such as Maze and REvil , steal data prior to encryption, thus adding the threat of publicizing the data if the ransom is not paid.
All security practitioners are aware of these threats, but in a healthcare setting, the consequences and the possible penalties are amplified. It is one thing to “ Dox ” a person, revealing their phone number and home address, however, it is entirely different when publicizing a confidential health record.
All of these concerns accentuate the importance of security in support of continuum of care in a healthcare setting.
Not Your Ordinary Security Practice
One can clearly see that the healthcare industry is a different environment from other corporate situations. Few other industries touch every member of society in such a dramatic way. For example, everyone can obtain a life insurance policy, but it is not mandatory for the preservation of life. Everyone can consult a financial planner to achieve a sustainable retirement plan, but that is not a mandatory requirement. Healthcare is one of the few industries that offer emergency care to a person in need.
Information security is also elevated in a healthcare environment. As such, the foundational data management concepts are also unique to the healthcare field. A healthcare security and privacy practitioner is tasked with functioning effectively in this unique environment. This requires the ability to work at all levels of the security spectrum, from operating security devices to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data, to carefully evaluating emerging healthcare security technology trends to recommend equipment and practices that would best serve a healthcare organization. The stakes are much higher in healthcare than in many other areas of critical infrastructure.
Due to the extremely sensitive nature of healthcare records, the healthcare field is highly monitored and regulated. The security and privacy practitioner must understand these special concerns and must participate accordingly.
Convergence of Technologies
Individually, all of the new technologies are impressive in their ability to advance care. Collectively, they are breathtaking. In a simple application of medicine-meets-5G technology, a doctor could advise an emergency medical technician to save a patient’s life when a trip to a hospital would delay critical care. Another example would be the use of artificial intelligence in a pharmacy to signal a dangerous drug interaction prior to prescribing medicine to a patient. In fact, there could be a time when medical technology, robotics, and 5G technology can enable a surgeon to perform surgery from a distance. Humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders would be able to broaden both its reach as well as its scope of care.
Agents of Change
Security practitioners are agents of change. This is true of anyone who works in the technology field. A technology professional cannot sit back and enjoy any innovation for too long, as the pace of development keeps moving at an amazing speed. Of course, as has always been the case with emerging technologies, the “rush to market” often places security as an afterthought. This is why a trained security practitioner is so important in all industries, and especially in the healthcare profession. A trained healthcare security practitioner possesses the skills and knowledge to apply security solutions where weaknesses exist in medical device implementations.
How the HCISPP Certification Can Help You to Succeed
The dynamic and advancing area of medical technology makes the area of healthcare security one of the most exciting jobs available, now, and for the foreseeable future. If you are currently a security practitioner working in the healthcare field, or you are looking to enter the area of healthcare security, the Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP) certification offered by (ISC)2 is the perfect vehicle to enhance your knowledge and skills. Not only does this credential give you the skills you need to function at the highest levels of a healthcare organization, but it shows your employer that you possess specialized knowledge and dedication specific to the healthcare profession.
To learn more about cybersecurity in healthcare, read our latest white paper, Not All Life Savers Wear White Coats .
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The New Face of Healthcare