Remote monitoring, AI research and data at risk -- healthcare tech predictions for 2023

In addition to pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the healthcare sector has also been in the forefront of new technologies like smart devices and the use of AI.

The rate of change seems unlikely to slow down next year, so what can we expect to see in the healthcare tech sector in 2023?

Grace Nam, strategic solutions manager at Laserfiche says modernization is key. "Embracing digital workflows and modernization will be transformational for healthcare systems in 2023. Technology will improve and reform workforce structures to eliminate staff burden and burnout and create new opportunities for upskilling. Career growth opportunities and ease of use for employees will be critical to providing quality support to patients. Additionally, secure electronic documentation tools will be used to store key data, such as around a patient’s visits and medical history, and create clear treatment plans and monitor progress. This will, for example, enable the interflow and exchange of patients’ clinical lab results between clinical workforce and medical staff."

We'll see a move towards long term treatment approaches driven by monitoring technology thinks Rachel Disselkamp, senior director of healthcare solutions at Skedulo:

In 2023, I predict that telehealth and remote patient monitoring will continue to grow in focus and investment. These high-profitability, scalable options help healthcare organizations both provide different services and sustain higher levels of patient engagement, while also offering more flexible work options to a workforce that has largely been excluded from the shift to 'remote work'.

More healthcare organizations are shifting from a purely episodic care mindset to a care continuum strategy. This invites a more holistic, long-term approach to treatment, necessitating a higher-touch experience between patient and provider. Facilitating this requires new modes of meeting the patient when and where is convenient for them, and ensuring limited gaps or delays in care. Logging in for a telehealth appointment may be easier for some patient populations than driving to a facility. Similarly, remote patient monitoring helps providers understand the right times to intervene rather than sticking to an arbitrary schedule or waiting for an episode to occur.

Dr. Suzanne Weller, head of research at Privitar, says privacy is key in handling data used for research. "Privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs), especially those leveraged in tandem with data security platforms, will take center stage in 2023 as a key enabler of collaborative analytics, facilitating safe data sharing across organizations and borders. In particular, federated learning, which allows the analysis of data split across multiple organizations without centralizing the data, will play an important role. We'll also see increased adoption of Trusted Research Environments as a model for collaboration, especially in healthcare."

Jonas Kubilius, AI researcher and member of the Oxylabs advisory board, expects to see more use of AI. "We will start seeing a shift from using AI for static tasks like classification to language-model-driven interactive workflows that help people perform their tasks more efficiently. The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) within the biotech industry has also been on the rise in recent years. According to Jonas, the adoption of AI in the biotech industry is helping improve the speed and accuracy of drug development, which can ultimately benefit patients and the healthcare system as a whole. I believe that AI adoption within biotech will keep accelerating, benefiting not only drug discovery efforts but our general understanding of cell biology."

Healthcare could come under threat from geopolitical attacks believes Immanuel Chavoya, threat detection and response strategist at SonicWall. "When it comes to protecting against threats of geopolitically motivated attacks, the present call to action is to be proactive, rather than reactive, to an assault. Attacks such as targeted malware or vulnerability exploitation could be used to inflict chaos on critical infrastructure such as healthcare, electric utilities, financial institutions, and oil and gas. These attacks tie up resources, cause financial damage, and send a signal. In 2023, organizations and governments will need to be prepared by ensuring that they don't have any issues that could become low-hanging fruit for attacks and closely monitor their network activity for quick identification of and reaction to any attack."

Chip Gibbons, CISO at Thrive, warns of threats to sensitive data in health and elsewhere. "Financial institutions, law firms, healthcare providers, and other companies that deal with sensitive customer data should already understand that threats in 2023 will be complex and constant. But even for those companies that aren't typically managing lots of data, it's crucial to know where your data lives and how to protect it. Increased ransomware attacks, which will get through in zero-day attacks as well as account compromises will happen to make it vital to have multiple layers of protection to stop an attack and potential data exfiltration if one layer fails."

This is echoed by Will LaSala, field CTO at OneSpan, who thinks healthcare is at particular risk. "During the pandemic, we know healthcare organizations were forced to quickly digitize, ramping up technological capabilities to meet the needs of patients -- namely through virtual appointments and other telehealth offerings. However, in most cases, security was severely neglected -- not for convenience, but to continue essential services as the world shut down. In 2022, convenience is now a patient demand, hackers understand how to take advantage of such virtual practices, and the industry has yet to widely implement the security measures needed to combat these growing threats. As a result, we've seen massive increases in data breaches coming from all areas of healthcare on a global scale -- most notably, Australia's largest health insurance provider, Medibank, suffered a data breach that compromised almost all of its four million customers. There has also been an increase in phishing, social engineering, and ransomware attacks that we expect will continue into the new year."

This will lead to technologies like biometrics increasingly being used to secure health data says Ricardo Amper, CEO and founder of Incode. "In 2023, medical personnel and patients will seek better ways to deliver and receive services while protecting privacy. Identity verification and authentication solutions will become more attractive to hospitals and health service providers as they seek to provide secure data access to the right people, while blocking the wrong people from accessing health data."

The Kaspersky team see increased use of smartphones to replace paper documents. "Today smartphones or other devices are widely used as payment methods, making classic plastic debit and credit cards obsolete in some countries. Moreover, smartphones can be used for medical purposes (i.e. as proof of vaccination or current COVID-negative health status) or even as a digitized version of an ID card. The latter may bring both convenience and risks. On the one hand, a properly implemented system could help to deal with daily verification without having to show the cashier the whole document with other details like name or street address. On the other, using a smartphone to store an increasing amount of personal data creates a single point of failure, raising serious security concerns. This places serious demands on the security of mobile devices and the way data is stored while preserving privacy."

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