The Role Artificial Intelligence is Playing In the Healthcare Sector


With modern technology making business operations convenient, fraudsters are also banking on advanced technology for their illicit activities. Cybercriminals are now targeting the healthcare sector for their illegal gains. Data breaches, medical identity theft, ransomware, and phishing attacks have been repeatedly reported in the industry. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate of these frauds skyrocketed and now, all the healthcare facilities are searching for robust ways to combat these crimes in 2021. According to BBC, healthcare cybersecurity will be on the frontline of 2021 and other reports reveal that there has been an approximately 50% increase in healthcare cyberattacks in 2020. Let’s jump into the cybercrimes in the healthcare sector and how artificial intelligence can help the industry. 

Phishing Attacks Continue to Rise

Patients and even hospital staff receive emails with malicious links. After the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, fraudsters are using the virus as clickbait for grabbing the reader’s attention. Scammers send emails with malware links and the message revolves around compelling treatments that are also cost-effective. Upon responding to the email or following the given link, people lose money and confidential information. Later, this information brings numerous consequences for not only the patients but healthcare service providers too.       

Data Breach in the Healthcare Sector

Just like other sectors, healthcare facilities also lose a large amount of data to data breaches every year. The average cost of a data breach is $158 per record and thousands of records are exposed every year. Last year, the DCA Alliance data breach in December was the biggest one and 1,000,000 records were exposed. The information lost included names, bank account details, patients’ health insurance details, and billing details. 

Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) is even more valuable than personally identifiable information (PII) as indicated by the staggering numbers of data breach in the health industry. 

Ransomware Attacks are Increasing 

Ransomware is a cyberattack in which fraudsters inject malware into the database and acquire confidential information. The information is then used for demanding money. Moreover, the stolen information can also be used for crimes like money laundering. In 2020, the GBMC healthcare in the US was under a ransomware attack. Cybercriminals injected malware in the IT system. The hospital claimed that they are maintaining robust data security. However, all the procedures were rescheduled. 

Fraudsters are continuously working on better ways to execute their plans and so, the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) will be changing. The healthcare sector must figure out a solution to keep all the information as secure as possible. 

Medical Identity Theft Increasing Challenges for Everyone 

Identity theft is not just the problem of the finance sector, but medical identity theft is also on the rise. Criminals acquire patients’ information through data breach, ransomware, or phishing attack and use it for claiming health benefits of patients. According to the HIPAA Journal, there were 3.054 data breaches in the health sector that led to an impermissible disclosure of 230,954,151 healthcare records.

How Can Artificial Intelligence Help the Healthcare Sector?

Since cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated every day, the industry needs better solutions to keep all the data and stakeholders secure. Without robust cybersecurity measures, it will get challenging for healthcare facilities to protect data. There are two AI-powered ways that can ensure security in the healthcare sector. Let’s take a look at both of them. 

On-Premises Service for Data Security 

The major reason behind the significant increase in data breach, ransomware, and other cybercrime is vulnerable security measures of cloud storages. Thanks to technological advancements, it is easier to store and access data but accessing these cloud storages is no longer a problem for fraudsters. Therefore, employing on-premises service will help hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, etc. in maintaining the security of data. This solution restricts access to healthcare facilities only. Third-parties cannot access the data and so, the facility would know if anyone tries to access data.  

Know Your Patient – Identity Verification in the Health Sector

Identity verification is not just a concern of the finance and crypto sector now. The healthcare sector has to comply with certain regulations in order to maintain the security and integrity of the facility. Just like Know Your Customer (KYC), Know Your Patient (KYP) is an artificial intelligence-based solution that must be employed. While performing any treatments or catering to the needs of patients, it will be easier to verify the legitimacy of individuals with KYP. Moreover, pharmacies can use it to sell prescription-only drugs to the right people. All in all, KYP can greatly reduce the chances of medical identity theft and illegitimate use of identities for claiming healthcare benefits. AI models ensure that every individual shows original government-issued ID documents rather than photoshopped ones. 

To sum up, the healthcare sector has become the new target of cybercriminals and protecting the industry is the need of the hour. The staggering cybercrime numbers in 2020 have led regulatory authorities in taking necessary actions in this regard. Thanks to AI, there are two solutions that can help prevent all these frauds in the future. 

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