Why has healthcare become such a target for cyber-attackers? – The Conversation

Pro and anti healthcare protesters vie for spa...

Pro and anti healthcare protesters vie for space in front of televison camera. Demonstration for health care in front of the Hale Boggs Federal Building, Poydras Street, New Orleans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health care systems

Health care systems (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a worrying but informative article from the Conversation. It highlights that confidential data and even human lives are at risk thanks to the huge spread of connected technology in healthcare.

Source: Why has healthcare become such a target for cyber-attackers?

I have been involved in developing and delivering very large technology solutions into both the public and private sectors. In my experience, there’s a massive injection of ‘bought-in expertise’ to deliver the initial project – although delays and cost overruns are the rule, often due to political meddling and weak management, especially in the public sector. But it’s the ‘maintenance period’ when the problems really manifest – this is the period when the project should be routinely delivering the solution. There’s often a shortage of expertise and budgetary pressures in the post delivery stage – frequently operations are outsourced to greedy outsource service providers.

For me, part of the problem is with initial conception, engineering and design. To effectively manage emerging technology risks, there’s need to take a ‘whole-life’ approach from ‘cradle to grave’, setting out robust quality and service level parameters.

Let’s face it, a large part of the problem is that the ‘beancounters’ having too much sway – austerity is like a tourniquet but it fails every time at the strategic level.

If healthcare providers’ executives and managers, both the private and public sectors, can’t manage emerging technology on a whole life basis, it’s time for them to step aside and outsource – or they should resign or be fired because they’re part of the problem. At a strategic level, there a a need for massive consolidation and rationalization – technology will only be truly effective if it’s harnessed to radical change, a golden period of ‘continuous innovation’.



Corruption: The hidden tax on global growth – Agenda – The World Economic Forum

English: Official logo of the World Economic F...

English: Official logo of the World Economic Forum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the WEF, discussing the “C word” has long been a sensitive topic at inter-governmental organisations but the IMF hosted a refreshingly frank discussion on the subject.

Source: Corruption: The hidden tax on global growth – Agenda – The World Economic Forum

The article cites one 2005 study estimating that the global cost of bribery alone could be as high as 1.5 trillion dollars (in the order of 2 percent of the world’s current GDP). Reference is made to other studies highlighting that a strong correlation between lower levels of corruption and long-term improvements in GDP per capita and in human development indices. The bottom line is that corruption is effectively a tax on growth and investment. With working and middle classes families everywhere struggling to provide for their families, this is significant.

As a final thought corruption is not just a problem in the developing world. In recent years, the European Parliament has had difficulty in getting an unconditional audit sign-off.

I have no magic solutions to this challenge but involving global institutions, like the IMF seems a good start. However, I worry that perhaps the United Nations has allowed itself to be marginalized by powerful lobbying?

Also what’s relevent is perhaps not so much the absolute level of corruption in a country but the improvement or deterioration. In this regard surely China is a beacon of hope?