Cybersecurity was back in the news this week with the release of a couple of reports detailing the extent and cost of malicious cyber activity over the last year for healthcare and other industries. Security software firm Malwarebytes released its 2020 State of Malware Report this week, reporting that the healthcare sector was the fifth most popular industry for attack in 2019.
The report pointed to an increase in attacks on businesses over consumers, and to increased sophistication in attacks, with large organisations becoming bigger targets in an exercise known as big game hunting. The attacks are also increasingly likely to be launched on several fronts, with Trojans used to get into systems to deliver ransomware as the payload.
The big news this week was the announcement by the Australian Digital Health Agency that Melbourne Pathology had started uploading pathology reports to the My Health Record. Melbourne Pathology is one of Sonic Healthcare's subsidiaries and this marks another step forward in making valuable clinical information available to patients.
Melbourne Pathology is following in the footsteps of another Sonic subsidiary in Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, which connected to the system last year. And with one of the big three private pathology providers now routinely uploading reports and the majority of state pathology services also doing so, there might actually be a reason for people to take a look at their record. The other big providers, Healius and Australian Clinical Labs, are still to get on board.
As the local health IT industry gears up for next week's HL7 International working group meeting in Sydney, the big news this week has come from the US, where the full details of the massive $US145 million fine levied against practice management system vendor Practice Fusion were revealed.
Practice Fusion, which first developed a PMS in 2008 and spruiked it to small, independent family doctor practices from its headquarters in San Francisco, gained substantial market share when it decided to offer the system for free. It quickly gathered investors and was a successful company, earning its revenue from advertising sales, predominantly from pharmaceutical companies. Practices were able to get an ad-free version by paying $100 a month, but few did.