In 2015, Anthem (formerly known as WellPoint) disclosed that hackers received access to a corporate database through a phishing email. The lawbreakers stole around 79 million records that included names, medical IDs, Social Security and insurance membership numbers, and employment information. The largest healthcare cyberattack in history cost Anthem Inc $115 million and resulted in the triplication of its cybersecurity budget.
- In 2018, the unknown hacker accessed and stole patient data consisting of medical and payment card information, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and addresses from the American Medical Collection Agency which served billing collections for Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp, and other healthcare providers. The attack affected 26 million people and resulted in the company's bankruptcy.
- A phishing email that had been sent to a Premera Blue Cross employee led to the data breach that cost the company $74 million. The employee clicked the link that was included in the email and downloaded the document that enabled hackers to access Premera's server. The company couldn’t detect the breach for eight months and hired a cybersecurity consulting company. Premera paid $74 million to settle a class-action lawsuit which was the result of a data breach.
- In 2015, Excellus Health Plan Inc reported that the personal information of more than 10 million customers might be exposed as a result of a cyberattack that happened in 2013. The third-party, hired to conduct a forensic review, found out that a large amount of Excellus client data was compromised. Despite the fact that affected data was encrypted, the hackers got access to administrative protocols, making the encryption moot.
- In 2011, the medical records of millions of military patients and their families were stolen as a result of a data breach in Science Application International Corporation. The records of 4.9 million people were stolen from a data contractor’s car as they were stored on backup tapes.
Such incidents regularly happen in the healthcare industry: the University of California in 2014, Advocate Medical Group in 2013, Medical Informatics Engineering in 2015, and many more organizations became victims of cyberattacks, losing millions of dollars and most important - their patients’ trust. Given the critical role of data security in the industry, healthcare providers must make a genuine effort to protect patients’ information and steer clear of the misfortune of many organizations that suffered from data breaches.
#4 A Flexible and Responsive Supply Chain Long-Term
Within the healthcare industry, the supply chain encompasses pharmaceutical products that are critical for a high standard of care for patients and provide supplies of medication for pharmacies. It is estimated that the supply chain includes 30% of operational costs for hospitals. One of the major problems in healthcare in 2021 and rolling over into 2022 was the understanding that supply chains became inflexible and were built on outdated frameworks. Therefore it’s vital for healthcare providers to manage supply chains efficiently and meet the cost objectives, facing the following issues:
- Product life cycle. As soon as the product is patented, it might take up to eight years to turn it into something that can be marketed. When the patent expires, alternative products can enter the market, or companies can reduce the product price. New technologies are reducing life cycles creating new pressures on distribution channels.
- Profit margins. Even though separate units of pharmaceutical products are rather expensive, operating margins are not so in the wholesaler sector particularly because of hospitals’, retailers’, and manufacturers’ control over the pricing.
- Forecasting. The difficulty to predict the exact demand for medicines because of the absence of accurate data on consumption and the lack of standard nomenclature for healthcare products.
- Lack of supply chain education. Managers are not well informed and equipped to control the supply of medication.
All the aforementioned issues will be actively addressed by healthcare providers in 2022 through the implementation of e-procurement systems to significantly reduce purchasing costs by the consolidation of supplier networks, ERP systems to provide an automated and paperless format for information to communicate through organizations.