The Life-Saving Intersection of Healthcare and Cybersecurity

June 1, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under Communication, COVID-19 for the Workforce, For Career Seekers, For Employers, For the Workforce

Last modified June 2, 2020

As FTI Journal posts in this article, the healthcare industry has typically been a target of cyber actors due to numerous exposure points: increased interconnectivity, an extensive supply chain that presents multiple vulnerability points, and traditional medical equipment built without security in mind are three such soft spots. However, as we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, a time of crisis can bring out the best in both healthcare and cybersecurity – especially when they intersect to serve the common good.

Evidence has shown that digitally tracing COVID-19 in East Asia played a major role in slowing the spread of the virus in that particular region, as “these countries tend to be actively deploying technology to collect data on the virus’s progress and efforts to contain it,” says the Harvard Business Review. In the United States, Apple and Google are also working to develop their own widespread COVID-19 tracing systems. 

Another example of technologists and medical professionals coming together to solve today’s problems occurred in the Seattle region, one of the first epicenters of the outbreak. Swedish Health Services, working in tandem with Seattle-based Microsoft, developed the COVID-19 Emergency Response App (CERA) to centralize data, offer real-time feedback, and improve response efficiencies.

In the event that the world ever faces another pandemic in the future, lessons learned from the COVID-19 response, such as an early embrace of technology to track the spread, can be effectively implemented to minimize a tragic loss of life and significant business disruption. In the meantime, we can appreciate some of the impressive technology and cybersecurity initiatives that are making a real difference in the healthcare industry.

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