AI Has The Power To Transform Healthcare Cyber Security

The British healthcare sector is in a transformative era, driven by advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has the potential to revolutionise healthcare by improving diagnostic accuracy, advancing patient care and streamlining administrative processes across the National Healt service (NHS).

However, as healthcare organisations integrate AI into their operations, the importance of robust cyber security measures to protect sensitive health data is paramount.

No industry is untouchable when it comes to cybercrime and sadly the NHS is a prime target given its ageing IT infrastructure and the amount of confidential data it stores. Its complex webs of access needs make it easier for malicious actors to hack and exploit confidential patient data. 

The AI Revolution in Healthcare

AI’s potential in healthcare is vast and varied. Advanced algorithms and machine learning models are already boosting diagnostic precision, predicting patient outcomes and personalising treatment plans.

AI-driven tools assist in reading x-rays and scans, drafting doctor’s notes and providing real-time health data updates. AI can match the performance of experienced doctors and radiographers in tasks such as a mammography screening for breast cancer and reviewing MRI scans for prostate cancer, doing so without human supervision.

AI-powered administrative tools also make hospital operations faster, smoother and more optimal. These tools not only amplify the effectiveness of healthcare delivery but also increase patient satisfaction and outcomes.

A recent British government survey reveals that 63% of healthcare organisations are already using AI in their operations, demonstrating the sector’s readiness to adopt new technologies.

The World Economic Forum supports this view, highlighting the rapid growth of AI applications in healthcare worldwide as a key factor in managing the exponential increase in medical data.

Cyber Security In AI in Healthcare

With the integration of AI, healthcare organisations are increasingly reliant on digital systems to store and process patient data. This digital transformation, while beneficial, also makes these systems attractive targets for cyber attacks.

Protecting patient data and maintaining the integrity of AI systems is essential. Cyber security, therefore, emerges as the backbone of AI implementation in healthcare.

The report highlights that although only 9% of healthcare organisations surveyed reported negative impacts from cyber-attacks in the past year, the potential threat remains significant, with 81% of respondents citing malware attacks as a primary concern, followed by data breaches (70%) and ransomware attacks (63%).

Robust cyber security measures, such as advanced encryption, multi-factor authentication and regular security audits, are vital to protect sensitive health data and maintain trust in AI systems.

In comment, Gregg Hardie, Public Sector Director at SailPoint observed  “The NHS and all healthcare companies must ensure they implement multiple security controls to protect against today’s fast-evolving cyber landscape. But to reduce the risk of a breach occurring in the first place, technology like identity security is crucial, in order to manage who has access to what and immediately flag any suspicious behaviour within an organisation..."

Encouragingly, 80% of organisations take preventative action against cyber threats, and 64% provide training on cyber threats and risks, showcasing the sector’s proactive approach to cybersecurity.

The Future of AI & Cyber Security in Healthcare

As AI technologies continue to advance and new challenges emerge, AI governance is pivotal in the responsible implementation of AI technologies. It aims to strike a balance between innovation and responsible use, ensuring that AI benefits society while minimising the potential risks and negative impacts.

According to Sailpont's Gregg Hardie "By leveraging an AI-enabled, unified approach to identity security, the healthcare sector can have complete visibility over who is entering internal systems, whilst ensuring the protection of sensitive data. This is crucial in order to protect against future malicious cyber threats.”

Indeed,  the future of AI and cyber security in healthcare is promising. AI technology will continue to improve diagnosis, treatment and efficiency. At the same time, better cyber security measures will ensure these improvements are safe and dependable.

Stakeholders, including government bodies, healthcare providers and technology companies, play a decisive role in this evolution. These stakeholders can support a secure and AI-powered healthcare ecosystem through collaboration and innovation.

Public-private partnerships, funding for cyber security research and policy frameworks that balance innovation and security are vital to achieving this vision.

The report shows that 67% of healthcare organisations surveyed have no difficulty finding employees with cyber security skills, and 63% have a specific budget for cyber security, highlighting the sector’s willingness to invest in secure AI developments.

AI is likely to be integral to ensuring effective product regulation and patient safety, consequently, properly  quantifying and analysing  its impact is essential.

Digital Health     |     Health Tech Digital     |     MIAA     |     UK Government   |   NHS Clinical Entrepreneur   |

Programme     |     The Health Foundation

Image:  Ideogram

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