By KIM BELLARD
It has been said that if your company has a Chief Innovation Officer or an Innovation Department, it’s probably not a very innovative company. To be successful, innovation has to be part of a company’s culture, embraced widely, and practiced constantly.
Similarly, if your company has a Chief Digital Officer, chances are “digital” is still seen as a novelty, an adjunct to the “real” work of the company. E.g., “digital health” isn’t going to have much effect on the healthcare system, or on the health of those using it, until it’s a seamless part of that system and their lives.
What got me thinking about this, oddly enough, was a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) as to the advisability of a Federal Academy – “similar to the military academies” – to develop digital expertise for government agencies. As the GAO noted: “A talented and diverse cadre of digital-ready, tech-savvy federal employees is critical to a modern, efficient government.”
Boy, howdy; you could say that about employees in a “modern, efficient” healthcare system too.
By KIM BELLARD
Maybe you, like me, are an Olympics fan (in my case: Summer Games, track & field). Most Americans look forward eagerly to the Super Bowl, while the rest of the world (and, increasingly, many in the U.S.) are waiting for the World Cup. But too few of us are aware that next summer will be the inaugural International Cyber Security Challenge, an esports event that pits teams from multiple countries against each other in cybersecurity skills. The U.S. is sending a 25 person team.
So what, you might say? Well, if you work in healthcare (or any industry, for that matter), or use any kind of digital device, you should care. Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations continue to proliferate. The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack this past spring illustrated the weakness of other parts of our critical infrastructure, and we’ve all almost certainly had some of our personal data exposed in data breaches.
We’re in a war, but it’s not clear that we have the right army, with the right weapons, ready to fight it. Thus the U.S. Cyber Games.
2015 was the year health care got serious about cyber security.
Hackers gave the industry no other choice.
The year started with a massive data breach at Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc., which the health insurer revealed on Feb. 4. Hackers roamed around in Anthem’s computers for six weeks and stole personal and financial information of 78.8 million customers, as well as the information of 8.8 million customers at Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans not owned by Anthem.
There have been 269 data breaches at health care organizations this year, according to statistics collected through Dec. 22 by the Identity Theft Resource Center. That’s actually down from 2014, when health care organizations suffered 333 breaches.
But the number of records stolen has soared to 121.6 million records stolen, up from less than 8.4 million records in 2014. Even without the Anthem breach, there were still 34 million records stolen this year from health organizations.
The health care industry accounted for one out of every three breaches recorded by the Identity Theft Resource Center.
“They can and are trying to break into everything,” Doug Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, said of hackers. He added, “It’s really on everybody’s radar screen in the health care industry.”
In a survey released in August by consulting firm KPMG, 81 percent of health care executives said their organization had suffered a cyber attack in the previous two years and 13 percent said they were being attacked daily.