Cybersecurity in healthcare: a narrative review of trends, threats and ways forward

Lynne Coventry*, Dawn Branley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


Electronic healthcare technology is prevalent around the world and creates huge potential to improve clinical outcomes and transform care delivery. However, there are increasing concerns relating to the security of healthcare data and devices. Increased connectivity to existing computer networks has exposed medical devices to new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Healthcare is an attractive target for cybercrime for two fundamental reasons: it is a rich source of valuable data and its defences are weak. Cybersecurity breaches include stealing health information and ransomware attacks on hospitals, and could include attacks on implanted medical devices. Breaches can reduce patient trust, cripple health systems and threaten human life. Ultimately, cybersecurity is critical to patient safety, yet has historically been lax. New legislation and regulations are in place to facilitate change. This requires cybersecurity to become an integral part of patient safety. Changes are required to human behaviour, technology and processes as part of a holistic solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-52
Number of pages5
Early online date22 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cybersecurity
  • Medical devices
  • Electronic health record


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