NHS needs to develop cyber-sec culture to reap benefits of digitisation

Investment in cyber-security could achieve £14.8 million savings per year for the health sector say NHS IT managers, with 90 percent of respondents to a recent survey saying that that prioritising cyber-security in the NHS will unlock the potential of digitalisation to improve patient care.

Improved cyber-security is estimated to be able to save enough money to allow for an additional 150 doctors and 250 nurses within the NHS.

All respondents to the survey agreed on the importance of keeping data secure with 65 percent also believing that it would improve the level of patient trust, almost half (49 percent) thinking it would streamline processes, and 45 percent seeing long-term cost-savings as a result. 

It was also revealed that only 11 percent of doctors and six percent of nurses receive cyber-security training, but in the wake of WannaCry, it was recognised by 41 percent that  all staff should receive such training and education to develop of a widespread cyber-security culture within the NHS. 

The research by Palo Alto working with Vanson Bourne surveyed 100 NHS IT decision-makers. It also found that most believe patients have a good or complete level of trust in how the NHS uses or stores their data (81 percent  and 67 percent, respectively). However, a quarter of respondents believe that patients have minimal trust in how the NHS stores their data. More than 1 in ten (16 percent) also reckon patients put very little trust in how their data could then be used by the NHS.

Eighty-three percent of IT decision-makers within the NHS reported having had guidance from senior management about  GDPR compliance, and 95 percent say they are aware of what they need to do to comply, with 58 percent believing their NHS organization will be ready for GDPR by May 2018 -  and 16 percent even believe the NHS is already compliant.  However 77 percent also acknowledged that  their IT systems still need improving to ensure data-handling compliance.

Dave Allen, regional vice president, Western Europe, Palo Alto Networks, commented in a press statement,  “... the capacity to save money and improve patient care through more seamless, digital processes is dependent on how the NHS leverages cyber-security to maintain trust, while capitalising on its exponential data growth. Preventing successful cyber-attacks will be paramount in reducing disruption to medical services and improving patient trust, leading to the greater ability to use data to improve health outcomes.”

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