Indian healthcare chiefs doubt their cybersecurity capability: report

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A new survey report in India has gauged the stances of healthcare leaders on their use of technology in an effort to yield operational efficiencies, enhance service delivery, and improve health outcomes. 

More than 50 respondents, who are mostly chief executives of multi-site hospitals based in metropolitan cities, were polled by Grant Thornton Bharat and the Association of Healthcare Providers (India) in the said report titled “Technology transformation for future-ready healthcare.”


The survey revealed that around eight in 10 respondents are increasing their digital and technology budget in the next 12 months. One major area of investment is 5G technology, which is noted for its potential to transform patient services, such as real-time remote health monitoring and telehealth.

Against this encouraging backdrop in technology spending, however, cyber threats and data privacy are primary concerns. Two-thirds of the respondents said they are not confident that their technology infrastructure can fend off such threats while only four in 10  have the necessary capability to protect patient data privacy.  

For those who have undergone digitalisation, or almost half of the respondents, they have seen up to 20% of efficiency gains from technology implementations.

But organisations have yet to adopt a technology for monitoring their’ adherence to regulations, statutory compliances, and litigations as only 42% of the respondents said they have implemented such a technology.

The survey report also uncovered that most respondents are generating less than 5% of revenue from their use of telemedicine. 

Regarding EMR, a majority of respondents or 62% have implemented them, however, 54% said the technology is not integrated with their billing systems. A smart and integrated EMR, the report’s authors said, can bring in “significant efficiencies in billings and enhance the patient experience.”

Finally, the survey found that most hospitals have yet to onboard the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) platform; only 28% of the respondents said their hospitals are enrolled in this flagship government programme which seeks to build an integrated digital health infrastructure connecting all stakeholders of the country’s healthcare ecosystem. Respondents mentioned major challenges in their enrolment to the ABDM, including difficulties in technology implementation or integration, data privacy, regulatory scrutiny, and cyber threats.


The report concluded that the transition towards a smart and connected healthcare system is “not far behind” with technology tools, equipment and devices, and digital solutions becoming increasingly available both in and out of India. “We believe the attractive healthcare market conditions, economies of scale along with fair competition will drive this trend,” it stressed.

It also emphasised that the success of healthcare digitalisation rests on “early adoption, proper training and incentivising the clinicians, nurses and bio-mechanical professionals on effective use of technologies.” Another factor is the impetus needed to drive a trend of technology use and adoption within the local healthcare sector. 

“Creating an intelligent health system will make doctors better at what they do while improving patient experiences. A concerted effort and hassle-free approach by all the key stakeholders to develop technology and solutions that reach all levels of the healthcare ecosystem will facilitate a win-win scenario for India in its journey towards digitalisation of its healthcare infrastructure,” the report said.


A major finding of the report is the need for healthcare organisations to heavily invest in technologies that address cybersecurity threats and data privacy issues.

Last year, the Indian healthcare industry encountered almost 1.9 million cyberattacks, according to a simulation done by cybersecurity think tank CyberPeace Foundation. Hospitals and health facilities are easy targets for hackers as they have been under immense strain due to the global pandemic. High-profile victims of cyber hacking last year include two New Delhi-based hospitals, AIIMS-Delhi and Safdarjung Hospital, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and the Sree Saran Medical Centre in Tamil Nadu.

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