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Healthcare Institutions Need to Increase Investment in Cyber security: Experts

December 30, 2022 15:35 IST | ANI Press Release
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Healthcare Institutions Need to Increase Investment in Cyber security: Experts

New Delhi [India], December 30 (ANI/GPRC): In view of increasing cases of cyber-attacks, especially on premier public healthcare institutions like AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, and ICMR, the private sector has also pulled up its socks to safeguard vital data and ramp up Healthcare IT infrastructure. According to experts and top healthcare professionals, Indian health institutions both from public and private domains need to increase investment in their IT infrastructure with a renewed focus on cyber security. Amid fear of a surge of COVID-19 cases again, there is an urgent to keep all data concerning cases, vaccinations, and patients' personal information highly secured. Cyber security is now viewed as a bigger challenge in 2023.

"For health institutions data is of paramount importance. The healthcare sector is a key target because hackers who can quickly sell sensitive information can make a lot of money. Online attacks are a concern for all healthcare companies. Health institutions are responsible for handling sensitive patient data, effective cybersecurity solutions have become very essential. There are several solutions available that can be scaled up. We are now very conscious of the need to increase investment in cyber security in 2023 and beyond", said Anurag Kashyap, Director Finance & Strategy, TR Life Science Private Limited.

Since the outbreak, India has been among the nations most susceptible to cyberattacks, with a startling 68 per cent of its businesses reporting some sort of data breach. The most recent Global Digital Trust Insights report from PwC indicates that 82 per cent of corporate leaders in India expect the budget for cyber security to increase by 2023.

Commander Navneet Bali, Regional Director Narayana Health-North said, "As we move towards greater digitisation of healthcare to democratise clinical delivery across the country it becomes crucial that safeguarding patients data becomes a topmost priority of all healthcare providers in the country. We at Narayana health take this very seriously and are taking all steps in that direction."

According to IBM's Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021, there have been six times as many cybercrimes since the pandemic started. The average cost of data breaches has increased as a result, from USD 3.89 million to USD 4.96 million. COVID-19 cases are rising in China and other developed countries and there is always a threat to India in 2023 as well, notwithstanding massive vaccination. India effectively dealt with the pandemic with its digital tool-COWIN Platform which keeps an efficient track of vaccinations rendered public in the country.

"We are witnessing serious threats to our data in the form of cyber-attacks. Compared to other industries, the healthcare sector needs to be extra cautious towards cyber security as we keep or store a large volume of sensitive data. The world witnessed the highest number of cyber-attacks during the recent pandemic only. We, the providers, are the most vulnerable. A ransomware attack on AIIMS is a recent example. It is high time to realize that strong mechanisms for safeguarding our health institutions should not at all be excluded in the digital transformation journey. We would be adopting more strong mechanism, optimizing our IT infrastructure for further strengthening," emphasized Alok Khanna, Administration, Medanta Lucknow.

The Indian healthcare sector has proved its importance in tackling the pandemic effectively along with its expertise in providing world-class treatment and care. But, according to the experts, the sector faces many challenges. For example, it is still not considered a critical infrastructure as per the guidelines of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (NCIIPC) and the sector does have well-defined cybersecurity policies or guidelines.

"Continuous technological revolution and digital transformation calls for more precautionary and protective measures against cyber-attacks. Hence, we also need to put in place a robust IT infrastructure. We have to spend more to fully digitize our labs. Like other healthcare institutions, innovative labs also require robust IT infrastructure. Going forward, we would be focusing on regular cyber security assessment, quick detection of breaches, and engagement of well-experienced professionals to make our systems fool-proof against any kind of cyber-attacks", said Dr Deepak Sadwani, MD Pathology & Lab Director, Prognosis Laboratories.

Healthcare information technology is an IT branch that helps develop, design, create and maintain information systems in hospitals, clinics, labs and other healthcare facilities. In 2021, the global healthcare IT market was valued at USD 135.6 billion and was predicted to grow at a compound annual rate of 29.3 per cent in ten years through 2030, according to Allied Market Research.

"In view of increasing cyber-attacks, new technology, processes, protocols and experienced cyber experts are needed for protection. Over the years, we have been making all efforts to put in place updated standard operating procedures recommended by experienced IT professionals. With Digital Health Mission, the government is also pushing hospitals to digitize their records. Hence, as this digital transformation gets new momentum, more funds will be needed. We have been making huge investments in advanced medical equipment, processes, and people. It is critical to safeguard our world-class facilities from cyber-attack which have emerged as a big challenge for the healthcare sector. Any complacency in this would certainly lead to comprise on care and can put the entire institution at high risk" said Sugandh Ahluwalia, Chief Strategy Officer, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre.

"Over 1.43 lakh hospitals have so far registered with the national mission to digitize health records since its launch in September 2021. Cloud-based storage of data needs to be very secure. According to experts, Indian health institutions need higher investments in high-tech tools and expertise to ensure digital security. "On the policy front, Union Government has proposed a law governing data privacy and the Bill is under consideration in Parliament" concluded Baldev Raj, Healthcare Expert, Prius Communications.

This story is provided by GPRC. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/GPRC)

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