As the Internet of Things (IoT) gains traction with smart city projects underway in Singapore, healthcare operators
are recognizing the serious need for securing patient data records and connected devices. In fact, truly digital patient care may be impossible without strong cybersecurity efforts behind it. Cybersecurity issues are one of the factors undermining the digital revolution of healthcare to truly drive towards precision medicine, collaborative care, and patient engagement.
The recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks are a true testament to the current times we live in and have once again brought cybersecurity in critical sectors to our attention. If hackers manage to lock and/or encrypt the health record of a patient needing immediate healthcare attention, the patient’s life may be in danger. In addition, complications
created during the cybersecurity attack can last for an extended period of time, even after the cybersecurity incident has been dealt with.
The growth in ransomware attacks worldwide and widespread impact should mean Singapore is thinking very hard about the health of its own cybersecurity network in its ‘Smart City’ future, especially for critical systems like transport and healthcare. Securing the network and medical devices therefore is becoming a top priority for the healthcare industry.
Rise of Internet of Healthcare Things
IoT has revolutionized businesses across various sectors, including the healthcare industry. According to a report published by Deloitte, wider adoption of Technology Enabled Care (TEC)— where healthcare practitioners can undertake e-visits, write e-prescriptions, diagnose, and deliver treatment via remote digital monitoring— can result in direct cost savings and enhanced patient care. Hospitals in Singapore have also started to use connected devices, and are looking at introducing technology that can help doctors, nurses, and patients receive medical advice and help when needed. For example, the team at Singapore’s Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) has been introducing wearables that can allow the doctor to see the patient demographics, x-rays, lab results, and other such patient information.
While all connected devices from pacemakers, insulin pumps and x-ray machines have significant benefits, they also run a significant risk of being attacked.