Australia’s healthcare sector must prioritise digital transformation and innovation

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Understanding and strengthening healthcare organisations’ 2021 cloud strategies

Linton Burling, General Manager - Vault Cloud
Reading Time: 3 minutes

After a year that shifted many corporate priorities and reinforced others, concerns around digital infrastructure and cyber security in the healthcare sector are stronger than ever.

This year the government plans to make amendments to the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act, which would expand how we define “critical infrastructure” for regulatory purposes — with the healthcare sector now included in this definition. As a result, Australian healthcare providers must upgrade their approach to security standards. 

Digitisation is a necessity 

Australia’s healthcare sector must prioritise digital transformation and innovation. Even prior to the pandemic, digitisation was seen as the answer to many of the health sector’s most urgent problems. 

As Australia’s median age continues to increase, hospitals must accommodate an ageing population at higher risk of chronic diseases. This accompanies health workforce shortages, with an estimated 85,000 shortfall of nurses by 2025

Even more pressing, 2020 brought additional challenges as we saw a significant takeup of telehealth in response to social distancing measures, as well as the increased need for COVID-19 tracing services to ensure public safety.

With all this in mind, secure digitisation is critical in automating manual work, analysing real-time patient data for better outcomes, and enabling access to preventive care.

However, going digital also comes with its fair share of risks. Between July 2019 and June 2020 the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) responded to an average of 164 cybercrime reports per day, costing Australian businesses $29 billion per year.  

Investing in security

With cyber risk on the rise, healthcare providers must ensure they are meeting the new regulation standards. The impact of a security incident can be severe and far more time-consuming than extra steps in compliance or reporting. 

Take the European Union Medical Agency, for example, who recently revealed a leak of third party COVID-19 documents. This leak not only endangered their valuable data, but also resulted in a lack of public trust.

While meeting security standards requires more investment upfront, it lowers potential risks such as exposed patient information, leaked medical data, and key financial figures.

With new regulations to come in 2021, healthcare organisations may wonder how to increase their current level of security. Vault Cloud has created a three step approach to assessing current and building a new security networks:

  1. Embrace digital technology but focus on foundations. Ensure security and IT foundations are in place. New security obligations provide a timely excuse to reassess infrastructure and core strategy.
  2. Lean on compliance obligations to make a better business case for security. Patients trust health care providers to follow the regulations outlined by Federal and State legislation. Patient information must be secure, with controls in place to govern who can access the information and what they can do with it. 
  3. Choose partners carefully. Select vendors who understand the regulatory landscape and can advise on best practices in protecting data sovereignty and meeting compliance obligations.

By considering these three steps, healthcare organisations can ensure they are on the right track when it comes to bolstering their security measures amidst new government regulations. This will in turn foster a greater sense of trust within the healthcare industry, which has proved more important than ever before during these strange times. 

For more information on how your healthcare organisation can stay ahead of upcoming regulations, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our blog

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