Healthcare knowledge is surprisingly vulnerable to hacking: Linked delivery of healthcare raises risks

Healthcare information is appealing to cyber criminals because it includes financial and personal information, can be used for extortion, and is suitable for fraudulent billing. Because of the complex and always-evolving nature of the medical treatment of a patient and because of the number of physicians, facilities and transactions needed to connect patient care through multiple settings, they are also remarkably vulnerable to penetration.

Mobile healthcare devices and linked healthcare delivery networks (e.g. wearables, tracking devices, photos of cell phones) are added to make healthcare information more appealing, but also more vulnerable. For each background or clinician, large variations in digital health usage patterns complicate the design of security solutions. We propose a set of linked healthcare patterns in this paper and then address security issues and possible solutions for each of the linked health patterns.

Healthcare data are attractive to cyber-criminals because they contain financial and personal data, can be used for blackmail, and most valuable, are ideal for fraudulent billing. They are also remarkably vulnerable to penetration because of the fluid and always-evolving nature of a patient’s medical care and because of the number of clinicians, facilities and transactions required to connect patient care across multiple settings.Wide variations of digital health use patterns complicates design security solutions for each context or clinician.

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