The digitization of patient records is the most visible sign of the drive for digital transformation in healthcare. But even this massive undertaking only represents one aspect of the challenge of transformation for the sector.
In Germany, for example, the Hospital Future Act (KHZG) is setting a digital course for hospitals and related healthcare organizations for years to come. The legislation requires that 15% of the funds made available for any project are dedicated to improving information security.1 This in recognition of the potential vulnerabilities – as well as the many advantages – that flow from digitalization. IT security measures for hospitals have an industry-specific standard (in German, “Branchenspezifischer Sicherheitsstandard,” or B3S for short) which is compulsory for critical infrastructure institutions and also provides a guiding framework for non-critical institutions.
Such moves anticipate that, in the near future, a large number of healthcare data sources will need to be linked together. It will no longer be enough to keep information within the bounds of individual organizations (e.g. in data centers). Rather, data will need to be made increasingly available to authorized parties from central data storage hubs. Most experts argue that the only way this can be achieved is through a platform approach that involves the widespread use of cloud computing technology.