Transforming Healthcare in 2023: The Dev Ops Phenomenon

Summary

Healthcare providers are still reeling from large implementations of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) platforms. To be strategic, CIOs need to concentrate on acquiring high quality data for the explicit purpose of spearheading initiatives centered around patient care. DevOps can greatly help in this regard and can maximize business value in the healthcare industry by:

1. Helping organizations deliver high-quality software applications and taking measures to avert system outages
2. Ensuring that high-quality software does not translate into a time-consuming and expensive development process
3. Embedding governance and cybersecurity functions such as identity and access management (IAM), privilege management etc throughout the DevOps workflow to enable efficient product releases

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The global healthcare industry has never been one to actively pursue digital transformation. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. According to the HIPAA Journal, the year 2021 witnessed more data breaches than previous years. Between the years 2009 to 2021, healthcare data breaches have resulted in the loss or exposure of over 314,063,186 medical records.

Although many great industry initiatives such as the FDA Digital Health Innovation Action Plan was created, the question remains on how healthcare companies can implement digital innovation at manageable costs without compromising on security.

The Use of DevSecOps in the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare providers are still reeling from large implementations of Electronic Medical Records or EMR platforms. To be strategic, CIOs need to concentrate on acquiring high quality data and feeding it into their systems for analysis. DevSecOps can help in this regard as it has been at the helm of digital transformation initiatives and is quite capable of curbing these issues.

Here is how DevSecOps can maximize business value in the healthcare industry:

Improved Software Quality: DevSecOps helps deliver high-quality software applications by driving automation to deploy applications consistently and avert system outages. Its principles focus on ensuring consistent software delivery, averting major bugs, and maintaining excellent customer experience.

Compliance Requirements: Any healthcare system (including EMR systems) is complex when it comes to security and compliance requirements. Automated security testing of DevSecOps applications ensures compliance and addresses security concerns.

Cost-Effective and Efficient Development: Healthcare costs continue to escalate, along with the costs of developing high-quality applications. DevSecOps ensures that high-quality software does not translate into a time-consuming and expensive development process. DevSecOps development practices deliver improved efficiency and a faster time-to-market.

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How DevSecOps Can Overcome Data Security Challenges in Healthcare

Data security is a continuous and not a one-time activity. DevSecOps implements data security with the productive “everyone is responsible for security” mindset — precisely why its market is expected to reach $23.42 billion by 2028, up from $2.55 billion in 2020.

Here is a closer look at how healthcare organizations can overcome security-related challenges using the DevSecOps practice:

1. Build Security Expertise

Often, product developers do not understand the customer’s security requirements. Lack of security expertise ranges from the top management executive to the junior development team members.

To overcome this challenge, the solution is to create a dev-op centric organizational culture. A culture surrounding DevOps demands cross-functional collaboration and buy-in to ensure security considerations are integrated into the entire product development lifecycle. DevSecOps will entail embedding governance and cybersecurity functions such as identity and access management (IAM), privilege management, code review, configuration and vulnerability management throughout the DevOps workflow.

When done right, organizations will be able to enable efficient product releases, while avoiding costly recalls or the creation of additional patches after products are released.

2. Create a Secure and Automated Development Pipeline

With evolving demands of the healthcare industry, organizations need to release applications regularly and quickly. But security-related practices take time to implement. This includes procedures like penetration testing and threat modeling.

Healthcare companies can overcome this challenge using DevSecOps automation that begins with building an efficient CI/CD pipeline with the right business tools. An automated pipeline with built-in security can successfully scale across all business operations with proper implementation.

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Here are a few ways to improve data security during the DevSecOps process:

  • Execute application security testingat every stage of the DevSecOps process. This includes vulnerability scans and code analysis during application deployment (before the production stage).
  • Container hardeningis essential if the CI/CD pipeline is built using containers.
  • Network hardening, which includes host-based firewalls, data loss prevention, and firewalls at the operating system level.

Conclusion

In summary, the DevSecOps approach serves to “prevent and cure” data security-related challenges in the healthcare industry. Favorably, DevSecOps is best designed for faster market releases and enhanced security.

As a technology expert, AdTech has worked with customers across the healthcare industry with a focus on solving even the most complex of business problems. We go beyond technical expertise to acquire extensive domain knowledge and imbibe a product-centric approach to help clients achieve their business vision.

Looking to innovate your healthcare systems? Contact us now.

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