Health Care Cyberwar Wages On.

12 May 2016, Written by Rick Valencia, President

Health Care Cyberwar Wages On.

2015 may be forever remembered as the year of the ‘health care hack’. As early as February, major health insurer Anthem revealed that hackers broke into a database containing the personal information of nearly 80 million consumers.[1] After only a few more months, another 20 million records were compromised, bringing the total to 100 million by mid-2015 alone.[2]

Since 2009, more than 1,100 separate heath care breaches have compromised data affecting more than 120 million people – or about one in three Americans.[3] Hacks in banking and retail receive a lot of press, but health care remains the #1 breached industry.[4]

Even more chilling are the tactics hackers are using. Instead of stealing patient information, new methods include infecting computer systems with ‘crypto-ransomware’, which locks down data while hackers ask for a ransom. Already, this type of techno-terrorism has affected multiple hospitals in California, Kentucky, and Maryland.

Data security has emerged as the hottest topic in health care and is one of the key themes we’ll be addressing at this year’s Connect 2016 conference [Learn More]. As stewards of health care data, these vulnerabilities can cost companies both in reputation and affect the bottom line. In 2014, an estimated 85% of large health organizations experienced a data breach with 18% of breaches costing more than $1 million to remediate.[5] In 2015, the price paid for each lost or stolen health care record was $363, making health care #1 per capita cost industry.[6]

Another risk lies in regulation. Data breaches can result in fines and sanctions for your company, as well as open the door to more stringent regulation. This can put an entire sector on the defensive. It pays to be proactive. For device manufacturers, this means ‘defense in depth’ design that spans infrastructure, people, and processes. And requires the deployment of rigorous risk management programs to examine and test for vulnerabilities across the entire chain. For providers, segmentation and device management are critical. Device fleets must be standardized and kept current behind firewalls and on networks separated from key medical and personal data.

At Qualcomm Life, we are tackling this issue head-on by leveraging Qualcomm’s 30-year history in connectivity and security. Our platforms are uniquely designed and engineered to provide the secure infrastructure needed to ensure data is fluid and accessible, yet protected from exposure and risk. Our medical-grade network is a powerful combination of encryption technologies, restricted access facilities, and dedicated, highly trained teams. By controlling the hardware design, software, communications profile, and certifications, we enable secure and reliable sharing, transmission, and cloud-based storage of vital health information. This allows our ecosystem members to rapidly scale and specialize in their health care vertical, while integrating securely for greater clinical context and improved outcomes [Learn more about our 2net medical-grade platform].

I hope you will join me at Connect 2016, our fifth annual connected health conference, where industry leaders from across health care will meet at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego August 30th – 31st, to discuss data security, emerging trends, real-world health care business insights, and so much more.



[1] The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2015 “Health Insurer Anthem hit by Hackers”. Anna Wilde Mathews and Danny Yadron. http://www.wsj.com/articles/health-insurer-anthem-hit-by-hackers-1423103720.

[2] IBM Security Incidents data from Jan. 1, 2015 to Oct. 31, 2015.

[3] According to Department of Health Human Services.

[4] Symantec 2015 Report 21347932. Internet Security Threat Report Volume 20. 2015.

[5] PwC, “Global State of Information Security Survey 2015,” September 2014.

[6] 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis Ponemon Institute, May 2015.

About the Author

Rick Valencia, President

Rick Valencia, President

Rick has more than 25 years of entrepreneurial innovation and executive leadership experience in rapid-growth, technology-enabled businesses along with a proven track record in market disruption, strategy execution and value creation. As the founder and leader of Qualcomm’s health care subsidiary, Qualcomm Life, he directs all of Qualcomm’s commercial healthcare activities. Rick also has a hand in driving wireless health innovation outside the company through his involvement in the World Economic Forum as the co-chair of the Value in Health Initiative, his oversight of the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize competition and his oversight of both the $100 million Qualcomm Life Fund and the $100 million dRx Capital which make venture investments in digital health startups.

Earlier in Rick’s career, as founder and CEO of ProfitLine, he cultivated his business savvy building the company from a one-man consulting firm into a 200 person, multi-million dollar enterprise that is now the West Coast arm of Tangoe Inc. (TNGO). As Rick built the company, ProfitLine was one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing companies in America three years in a row, on Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 50 companies four years in a row and he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Rick is a native San Diegan, committed to the community. He uses his business building know-how to help fellow entrepreneurs launch enduring technology companies as a mentor at the Founder Institute and a member of the Executive Committee of the San Diego MIT Enterprise Forum. He is a board member of Pedal the Cause, a cancer research fundraising organization, a former chairman and long-time board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County and actively supports Rady Children’s Hospital and the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center at UCSD.

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