Technology Enabled Medical Care (TEC) and Cyber Insurance

Technology Enabled Medical Care (TEC), could be the solution to many of the healthcare industry challenges, but what are the cyber risks?

Governments and healthcare services across the world are facing the increasing challenge of aging populations, rising cost of treatments and overcrowding in hospitals. A solution which is likely to become increasingly popular now and in the future is the use of connected health or technology enabled care (TEC). According to Deloitte, connected health or TEC is the collective term for telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, mHealth, digital health and eHealth services.

The Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions state that ‘Technology Enabled Care involves the convergence of health technology, digital, media and mobile telecommunications and is increasingly seen as an integral part of the solution to many of the challenges facing the health, social care and wellness sectors, especially in enabling more effective integration of care.’ The term TEC encompasses a wide range of new technologies such as remote patient monitoring, healthcare social media, health applications, 3D bioprinting, nanorobots, DIY biohacking and blood bioanalytics, to name but a few examples. These new technologies represent a shifting dynamic in how healthcare is delivered to us in a way that is more efficient and effective thus reducing the strain on traditional methods of care.

In the US and UK, a number of recent start-ups have focused on doctor mobile applications which provides a video conference platform with a qualified GP or physician. Like many mobile apps, the services are offered on a worldwide basis, so for example,  a patient in France can communicate with a doctor in Canada. Another example is an app that will be a provider of information about your genetic makeup, to make it easier to learn about your own health risks. These new innovations are taking healthcare to a global level and Deloitte have found that the number of health apps on iOS and Android has more than doubled in 2.5 years to over 100,000. These apps are expected to represent a $26 billion market by the end of 2017.

The growth in TEC also comes at a time when data breaches, ransomware and cyberattacks have reached an unprecedented level. With more and more users uploading their medical records onto apps, healthcare workers using software to analyse patient data and doctors providing communication channels: the likelihood of a cyberattack is high. Financial data is no longer the target for these talented hackers when the value of reselling medical records on the black market can fetch up to $10 per record. Whilst 2015 seemed to be the worst year for Healthcare data breaches in terms of number of records exposed, 2016 had a higher frequency of data breaches with 329 occurring over the year. The largest data breaches in 2016 include Banner Health (3.6M records), Newkirk Products (3.4M records) and 21st Century Oncology (2.2M records), however these do seem particularly small when compared to Anthem Healthcare (over 78M records) in 2015.

One way for TEC companies to protect themselves, in additon to their cyber-security risk management measures such as encryption and multi-layer security, is to purchase a Cyber insurance policy. Most Cyber policies now offer cover such as privacy breach expenses, business interruption and third party liabilities resulting from a network breach. These protections can be a financial lifeline for a business that has suffered any form of data breach or network outage. Companies in TEC also need to consider the potential of being brought into a Medical Malpractice law suit. If an app is offering any medical advice and this advice results in the injury or death of a user, then it is highly likely that the app provider could be held liable, even if this advice was provided by someone else. These emerging risks are what Safeonline does best and we can help businesses find the right insurance to fit their business model.

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