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Singapore Hack is a speed boost for $ 9 trillion in industry



As far as cyberhacks are concerned, those in the healthcare sector are particularly annoying.

The notion that a stranger, a malicious, has accessed our medical data is getting under the skin of most people. Even beyond financial and employment data, there is nothing more personal than our history of illness, diagnosis and medication, including potentially psychological or even fatal conditions.

News over the weekend that Singapore's healthcare system has suffered a severe attack is not just what many consumers fear, but what bothers the industry itself. This Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, was not just a victim of the hack but a target that added to the concern.

To be clear, data accessible via Lee and 1

.5 million other patients were mainly personal details such as names, identity card numbers, gender, race and date of birth, and not medical. But 160,000 people had accessed records of some of their medication usage. Lee himself signed for the land digitization project, saying that this would improve the quality of care in medical professions, even though he was on Facebook, that he was aware of the downsides.

Of course, I also knew that the database would be attacked, and there was a danger that one day, despite all efforts, it could be compromised. Unfortunately, that happened now.

His calm response, rather than indignation, is fitting among those who are trying to build the future of health care, though there is little consolation to people whose records were accessed.

Such hacks jeopardize the global adoption of health technologies that include digitized medical records, Internet-connected diagnostic machines, and the use of artificial intelligence to detect and treat disease.

Ask a Health Tech CEO what his biggest challenges are and without doubt, regulation and government caution will be high on the list. Every time there is a break and an outcry, you will find bureaucrats all over the world responsible for the next scandal.

"Privacy, privacy, privacy," they would cry when a suggestion for improvement came in. Efficiency, cost reduction, or upgrade care exceeded their desks. "Just look at what happened in Singapore."

You are not wrong – privacy is important.

Yet billions of dollars are poured into new businesses every year – in the US in 2017, according to CB Insights, $ 6.4 billion to promote digital health. That's a drop in the ocean compared to the $ 8.7 trillion that Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu ltd. will spend around 2020 on healthcare worldwide.

Expect more money for the global cybersecurity industry, with a special focus on health, after this incident. The Singapore Hack will be a speed limit for medical digitization, not a roadblock.

To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at tculpan1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Sillitoe at psillitoe@bloomberg.net

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion editors or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Tim Culpan is a columnist for the Bloomberg Opinion on technology. Previously, he was technology for Bloomberg News.

© 2018 Bloomberg L.P.


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