The healthcare industry is evolving rapidly, and various social and technological advances have contributed to this evolution. Clinical innovations, telemedicine, electronic health records, financial incentives, and patient preferences are some of the latest changes. The industry is also becoming more patient-centric and focusing on providing better care and services.
Despite significant improvements, Healthcare Threats many challenges, including financial, medical, and human resources. However, the most pressing one is the integration of technology into healthcare processes. While technological advancements influence the industries’ advancements, its implementations are not as smooth and are often the cause of various cybersecurity threats. What further complicates the situation in the industry is the older generation of professionals not being able to adapt to digital advancements.
Thankfully, several universities offer degrees in cybersecurity and healthcare to prepare professionals to deal with technological challenges in healthcare. To help these individuals get started on their journey, below, we have listed some healthcare threats to watch out for in 2022.
Hackers often target health organizations to acquire the patients’ medical records, clinical trial data, research data, and billing information. They hack into hospital databases to collect corporate and patient data worth millions of dollars to either sell or hold for ransom.
Medical records contain sensitive information, and any leaks can endanger patients and ruin a hospital’s reputation. Moreover, healthcare organizations spend a lot of money to deal with these attackers. Therefore, the industry is focusing more and more on Cybersecurity and Healthcare: Cyber is Wealth for healthcare organizations.
Frequent use of wearable medical devices and an increase in chip implantations in human bodies can contain even more sensitive data that can help hackers find the location of patients. Therefore, data leaks can be dangerous. Various factors can increase the rate of cyber security threats;
- Outdated equipment and software
- Weak passwords
- Easy access to hospital computers
- Inside leaks
Healthcare organizations should resolve all these issues and strengthen their cyber security measures to avoid future attacks and threats.
Shortage of Nurses and Physicians
The shortage of healthcare professionals has been a problem in recent years. However, this shortage will become acute in 2022 because of several factors. The primary reason for the lack of healthcare professionals is that more people live healthier and longer lives than previous generations. The older population is increasing rapidly, requiring general care for a longer time.
However, if public care providers focus on the aging population, a shortage occurs for the general population. Moreover, most physicians are choosing to specialize instead of providing primary care.
The increase in the demand for healthcare services has led to more and more healthcare institutes, creating more job opportunities. However, there are not enough nurses and physicians to fill those positions. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), there will be a shortage of almost 122,000 physicians by 2032.
Another reason contributing to the shortage of healthcare workers includes an aging healthcare workforce. The retiring workers outnumber the freshies joining the industry. Some professionals are even choosing to retire early because of the technological challenges they face in today’s healthcare industry. There are no healthcare education programs to help train the older generations for the latest healthcare settings.
Overall, the shortage of nurses and doctors is a serious threat, and it can affect the standard quality of care and the overall healthcare system.
Increased Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is an ethical issue in the healthcare industry. Malpractice incidents can ruin the reputation of the healthcare industry, and they can affect professionals at all levels, including doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators, and more.
Technology has improved the quality of care and has introduced various benefits like convenience and precision in the healthcare industry. However, there are also more chances of technological malfunctions leading to medical mistakes and affecting the patients’ lives.
Another reason for increased medical malpractice is that the healthcare professionals are often overworked (they work more in lesser time) and underpaid, which increases the chances of making a mistake like misdiagnosing, ignoring lab reports, or a failure to diagnose.
High Healthcare Costs
It is becoming difficult for average Americans to afford the increasing healthcare costs. The costs for various treatments are increasing exponentially, and the reasons for this increase are;
- Aging population
- Disease prevalence
- Rapid population growth
- Service Price
- Retaining competent physicians
Increasing healthcare costs discourage patients from completing their treatment, buying the required medicine, visiting the doctor for serious ailments, showing up at follow-up appointments, and more. All these factors result in bad patient health outcomes and portray a negative image of the healthcare industry. The quality of care is in question, and people question the entire healthcare industry.
Therefore, it is necessary to develop new payment systems to reduce costs and improve the quality of care. For example, one model suggests paying professionals based on patient outcomes, which means paying them for the quality of care instead of the quantity of care provided.
The Bottom Line
The US healthcare industry is rapidly evolving. The various advances in the industry have improved the quality of care, but new threats have also risen simultaneously. The US healthcare industry is facing several threats in 2022. One of them is cybersecurity threats, which result from technological incorporation in healthcare processes. Other healthcare threats include a shortage of nurses and physicians, increased medical malpractice, and high healthcare costs.
These threats can affect the quality of care, ruin the reputation, and decrease the revenue of the healthcare industry. Therefore, dealing with these challenges through appropriate measures is crucial for the successful survival of the healthcare industry. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the various threats that the healthcare industry should watch out for in 2022.