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Healthcare: Digital Healthcare Growth Spikes but so do Targeted Cyberattacks

By Dick Weisinger

2020 was the year that pushed medicine into the realm of telehealth. The volume of telehealth visits to physicians increased somewhere between 50-175 times in 2020, based on a Scottsdale Institute survey of healthcare CIOs. The implications are enormous considering that the healthcare market is expected to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026. Consumers have become much more open to digital healthcare and have become less concerned about potential safety or security concerns of virtual meetings.

Ram May-Ron, Managing Partner at FreeMind Group, said that “COVID-19 presented the medical community with a challenge like nothing before: how to provide the best medical care while maintaining social distancing rules. The result was an accelerated adoption of innovative technologies by clinicians and other medical care providers, together with creative solutions to problems by investors. These solutions include improved telemedicine apps, remote diagnosis and mental health related apps.”

The flip side to the growth being seen in digital telehealth is the rise in healthcare-related cyberattacks. In 2020, the number of cyberattacks targeting the healthcare profession rose by 55 percent. A report by Irdeto found that 80 percent of healthcare tech providers suffered a cyberattack.

Nick Culbertson is the CEO of Protenus, said that “you can’t change your medical record. You can’t change the fact that you had a broken leg in 2016 and so, as a result, someone who steals your medical record can actually use that to steal your identity not only now but five to ten years in the future.”

Steeve Huin, CMO at Irdeto, said that “medical records are a precious resource on the dark web today, raking in upwards of $250-$1,000 apiece, as they enable bad actors to take over identities, commit health insurance fraud, and more. Patients expect that their data will be well protected, and this will become a determining factor to their choices for selecting a care provider, medical device, virtual care solution, and other healthcare options going forward.”

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