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IBM’s Watson Health is set to get a bit bigger in 2016 – Make that nearly twice as big. International Business Machines Corporation announced early on February 18 that they would be purchasing Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion. Debora DiSanzo announced in the press statement that with the acquisition of Truven “IBM will be one of the world’s leading health data, analytics and insights companies.” As a vendor that manages healthcare data, one of the biggest challenges IBM faces is control and security of these sensitive data sets.
The Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit (SAS) 2016 (Lodescores: E4, BD5, N5) held February 7-11, highlighted how hospitals are very susceptible to cyber attacks as demonstrated by Kaspersky Lab’s Sergey Lozhkin. Lozhkin presented at SAS on how he successfully hacked his own hospital by finding a weak point in the free hospital wifi and infiltrating a tomographic scanner that was connected to it. Both hospital managers and medical equipment developers should be alarmed at the amount of work that needs to be done in securing medical equipment.
Luckily Sergey Lozhkin was not a real hacker, but the problem does not dwell in the hypothetical. On the evening of February 17, 2016 Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center Officials announced that they paid hackers a ransom of $17,000 in Bitcoin to reclaim control and access over captured data. The hospital decided that the quickest way to regain access would be to pay the hackers, after the computer system was hijacked by a low-tech ransomware, which locked them out of their own networks. The CEO announced there is no evidence that patient data was accessed in the attack.
These attacks showcase the vulnerabilities in the healthcare sector. Scott Erven, a security advocate for medical devices, spoke at SAS on how healthcare is 10 to 15 years behind retail in regards to security. Sooner or later, Ervan warned, things will come to a breaking point.
The Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology released a report on February 17 calling for regulatory enforcement from the FDA for medical devices. The report cited the “suggestions” from the FDA are not enough protection and that enforceable regulations are needed for manufacturers. Regulatory involvement and oversight has challenged the speed of innovation of new medical devices. However, with the threats of inappropriate access to these devices, standards need to be established and enforced to protect patients and potential life-threatening consequences of the hacking of these devices. This is an ongoing issue as the vulnerabilities of medical devices to hackers was demonstrated at Black Hat back in 2013.
Security is not a backseat issue as the push towards digital transformation, or digitization as it is beginning to be known, is growing across all sectors of business, and the healthcare sector is no exception. Cisco Live Berlin (Lodescores: E4, BD4, N5), which took place February 15-19, focused on how digital growth will allow companies to grow faster and gain competitive edge.
Cisco Live emphasized that part of this digitization is the importance of focusing on the digital customer experience. Customers want access to virtual experts, often through using mobile apps. Although hospitals should proceed with caution. Accenture released a report earlier this year that badly designed apps have the potential to cost hospitals $100 million a year. In-house designed apps infrequently offer what consumers want (access to medical record, ability to schedule and cancel appointments, etc.), and hospitals should instead implement a patient centered approach in app development.
Lodestone Insights is tracking over 5,000 conferences in the life sciences, pharmaceutical, business, and technology sectors. We provide several web-based products to help business leaders make more informed and strategic decisions.
Our proprietary indices rank the conferences by Educational (E), Business Development (BD), and Networking (N) opportunities, and allow you to compare multiple conferences at once.
Noteworthy conferences in Healthcare and Technology coming up:
- HIMSS 2016: February 29-March 4, 2016 (Lodescores E4, DB4, N4)
- Medical Informatics World Conference: April 4-5, 2016 (Lodescores: E3, BD5, N5)
- 13th Annual Health Information Technology Summit: April 10-13, 2016 (Lodescores: E3, BD3, N4)
- Becker Hospital Review 7th Annual Meeting: April 27-30, 2016 (Lodescores: E4, BD4, N5)
- 10X Medical Device Conference: May 2-4, 2016 (Lodescores: E3, BD3, N4)
- Health Datapalooza: May 8-11, 2016 (Lodescores: E2, BD5, N5)