Hazel Chappell, Founder/President/Digitial Transformation Healthcare Consultant/Health2047 Associate/Business Advisor – DellMed CoLab

I’m now a #cybersister!

Not just a woman in cybersecurity or a cyberwoman but part of a cybersecurity family of females whose passion is in healthcare. I have a specific appetite in healthcare for deep diving into data and informatics, organizational change operational/readiness and people’s behaviours.

Security in healthcare needs to become a priority. Digital transformation in the Health Sector has been underway for many years and the issue of security has become increasingly problematic and costly to the global healthcare ecosystem. In looking at the number of recently reported breaches alone, the cost to the economy goes into billions.

I am new to the sector of cybersecurity in healthcare, but an old hat with security in healthcare. Looking back on my work in the UK, security was always part of it. Many conversations ranged from data privacy to access to healthcare data.

Today, technology and innovation go hand in hand within healthcare. This in turn brings new challenges. I see new innovations, invited to mentor and facilitate conversations with proven successful innovative solutions and advise on potential entrepreneurial innovations.

Consideration for security in healthcare related to chatbots, drones, AI, IoT, medical devices, wearables, generate different and fascinating human responses from entrepreneurs based on federal requirements rather than the thought process. Interestingly, legacy systems remain in place which brings new vulnerabilities and there is a need to create a more secure approach to protect healthcare data.

Technology has proven to be the way forward, in a digital world. Since the arrival of the coronavirus and as with many in healthcare, technology has enabled me to communicate with my international friends, Irish family, and Irish healthcare colleagues. With it comes the challenges from a security aspect. We all know about Zoom and issues with security and look forward to the ‘big’ upgrade at the end of the month.

When Covid-19 heat maps first arrived electronically, everyone was curious to ‘click’ and know what was going on. Ironically, the links were identified as one of the top malware threats. It

bothers me as a patient the impact of this will not be known for some time and are the lurkers watching my keystrokes, online access to health records, banking online? Cyber-attacks continue to escalate and remains a threat in healthcare, the leading global critical infrastructure industry today.

Security isn’t all about technology or devices or health information exchange. It is about people and processes too. All of which come under the umbrella of prevent, detect and respond. The recent headline on the threat to technology regarding passwords and the continuance of human mis- use of privileges in accessing patient data demonstrate this.

Sharing of data and making patient data available is agreed to be an intrinsic component in making decisions for patient pathways, more so since the onset of Covid-19.


“It is simplistic to think that privacy concerns are simply a façade for inhibiting data exchange” LinkedIN – Laura G Hoffman, AD AMA

I was curious to hear some Irish thoughts on terra firma are relating to cybersecurity in healthcare, so I phoned a friend. A very admirable leader in healthcare technology in Ireland who commented “we do what we can with the money that we have, there is so much more to do”.

Cybersecurity in healthcare is a permanent issue. Recent acceleration and challenges in breaches of data, security of data and cybersecurity in healthcare have created more noise internationally warranting greater collaboration and attention. Where the current shift is moving towards looking at business continuity, operational technology, processes and change, cybersecurity must be factored into the overall considerations closely aligned with risk management. Appropriate stakeholders must be involved to defend and protect patient’s data, our data.

Be Prepared for More Change!

My final questions and thoughts are:

  • Is the appropriate advice being given on how to do things better for security and cyber challenges in healthcare in Ireland to support developing digital capabilities?
  • Are leaders in the Irish healthcare ecosystems ensuring that Cybersecurity in Healthcare is a top board agenda item to support this tsunami of new change and, ensure healthy cybersecurity awareness is imprinted into the culture of the organizations nationally?

To quote the US Homeland Security Agency CISA (Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency)

“Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow”