Healthcare has been undergoing a steady evolution for decades, but for many this was greatly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the level of progress varies across countries and regions, there are several common factors and trends we can see globally.

Heightened patient expectations, the adoption of technologies like mobile and IoT, and complex compliance mandates are all forces fuelling healthcare’s digital transformation. However, going digital introduces new security challenges and risks. Healthcare is already vulnerable, as the industry tops the list of the most expensive data breaches, with a $7.13 million average data breach cost, 84% more than the global average.

If we are to create a roadmap for digital healthcare, we need to ensure that the correct barriers are in place to ensure the path is safe to travel. Specific details will vary by country depending on the regulatory requirements, transformation maturity and public buy-in, but here are the top four considerations:

How to protect patient data

Patients increasingly want digital access to healthcare services and providers, but rightly expect that any personal information be protected at all times, whether in use or being stored. But when healthcare data is up 40 times more valuable than a credit card number on the black market, it becomes an attractive target for cybercriminals.

As such, not only do healthcare providers who manage patient data need to ensure patient data is encrypted at all stages, but should ensure that patient records are digitally signed and sealed and that personally identifiable information is tokenized to separate patient data from other medical and payment data.

How to secure healthcare infrastructure

When it comes to developing a secure healthcare infrastructure, it’s all about creating a zero trust environment in which users and their devices are verified securely and seamlessly whether they are within or beyond the perimeter.

This approach ensures that users, IT systems and medical hardware as well as healthcare IoT devices that may be used to provide information, are properly authenticated and user and device behavior is continuously assessed. On top of this, a robust encryption strategy will help ensure the security of data collection and communication.

How to enable a secure, productive and hybrid workforce

Like most organizations, healthcare providers usually use a combination of full time, temporary, agency and volunteer resources. As such, the secure and streamlined onboarding of any of these workers is crucial, and an effective Identity and Access Management (IAM) system can help.

Proper role-based access, as well as secure self-service identity verification and passwordless access through biometrics can reduce workforce friction while also helping keep data safe from accidental or malicious leaks. In addition, digital-first services like secure digital signing can help streamline account set up and trusted transactions.

How to safeguard healthcare delivery, transactions and payments

Healthcare doesn’t stop when the diagnosis and treatment are done — there are lab results, bills to pay and claims to make, ongoing treatments, prescriptions and follow up appointments. These all add additional healthcare providers, payment systems and other third-parties to the mix, further increasing the potential threat landscape.

By implementing a combination of secure self-service patient identification and verification, together with a signing automation service to digitally sign and seal electronic documents (such as lab reports, invoices, claim submissions and prescriptions), all parties involved can be secure in the knowledge that the provider of the information is who they say they are and that the contents of the documents are secure and have not been tampered with.

Find out more about how to create a roadmap to secure digital healthcare delivery that works for you in our webinar.