Oracle to create national and global health database 

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Last week, during the annual Oracle CloudWorld user event, Larry Ellison, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, talked mainly about healthcare. It might have been an unpredictable topic for some time, given that Oracle is known to be a technology company, but not in recent times, after the company made its largest acquisition a few months ago, that of Cerner, which provides information systems for hospitals and other healthcare organisations, for $28.4 billion.

According to the Diginomica website, Ellison announced that Oracle intends to create national and international databases for the healthcare sector. The executive presented examples of how systems with patient information in the United States talk and share data and provide incredibly fragmented experiences. “New York residents visiting a hospital while on holiday in Los Angeles would likely have to provide a series of data repeatedly – the patient would be a whole new “customer”,” the report said.

By relying on Cerner’s systems, Oracle intends to aggregate electronic health data on a national level and, if patients wish, be able to access it from anywhere. Taking this to a global scale, Oracle imagines that this sharing could even be international. “We have fabulous global systems for credit, but not for healthcare. We prioritize purchasing over health, and that’s not right,” Ellison points out.

The Oracle executive explains that large providers of technology solutions for the health sector have focused on one segment of the ecosystem, the large hospitals, which have their databases with electronic medical records. And in Oracle’s view, the right thing to do is to focus on the patients.

While Oracle intends to continue providing clinical systems to hospitals, it plans to create other solutions that work with national public health databases, where all patient records can be found. “Health records are stored in databases belonging to health providers that patients have visited throughout their lives. This becomes fragmented and creates several problems,” says Ellison, adding that Oracle intends to create two new national and one global system to improve health management in countries and the world, especially in times of crisis, as was the Covid-19 pandemic. Another initiative will be to create a system for patients to communicate more easily with healthcare professionals and providers.

Meanwhile…

The healthcare industry remains lucrative for cybercriminals. According to a recent Netwrix survey, 61% of healthcare respondents experienced a cyberattack on their cloud infrastructure in the past 12 months, compared to 53% for other verticals. Phishing was the most reported type of attack.

“The health sector is a lucrative target for the invaders, with higher chances of success. The first two years of the pandemic drained the sector. With patient health becoming a priority, IT security resources have focused on maintaining only the most necessary functions. In addition, the high value of data gives cybercriminals better opportunities for financial gain. They can sell confidential medical information on the Dark Web or demand ransom to ‘unfreeze’ the medical systems used to keep patients alive,” explains Dirk Schrader, vice president of security research at Netwrix.

An attack on the healthcare segment is also more likely to have financial consequences – 32% of respondents from other industries reported that attacks did not negatively impact business. In comparison, only 14% of healthcare organizations said the same. Unplanned expenses to fix security flaws and compliance fines were the most common damage the healthcare industry faced due to cyberattacks.

Despite the threats, healthcare organizations plan to increase the share of their workloads in the cloud from 38% to 54% by the end of 2023. This accelerated adoption of cloud solutions must be accompanied by relevant security measures and exceptional attention to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as respirators or infusion devices, that can damage the health of the. “Segmenting networks will help prevent compromised devices from affecting the entire system. In addition, IT teams should strictly limit who or what (humans and machines) can access data and systems according to the principle of least privilege and conduct regular reviews,” details Schrader.

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