Wednesday, 18 September, 2019
School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna, Pisa - Italy


Pisa, 18 September 2019 – PANACEA Research took part in the conference entitled "Privacy: restrictions or opportunities, exploring the role of IT and healthcare data" at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies.

The conference set out to dispel the myth that data protection is a barrier to developing technology but rather an opportunity for innovation in the era of algorithms, and the definition of health data.

Here some insights from the conference:

According to Clusit, the Italian association for information security, 2018 was the worst year for cyber incidents, with constant exposure to threats, a 41% increase in cyber-attacks in the public sector and a rise of 99% in the healthcare sector. As Dr Antonello Soro, Data Protection Authority President, put it, “we are faced with a sort of permanent cyber-guerrilla”.

Attacks in the healthcare sector have much more serious consequences than in other sectors, because they can lead to medical malpractice and directly affect the patient’s safety. How? Just think about the diagnostic or therapeutic errors that can be caused by changing health information or malfunctioning of complex operational systems during delicate medical surgery.

As Prof. Giovanni Comandé from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna highlighted, in the context of high computational capacity and continuous sharing of data, the debate around privacy brings into play rights and freedom. A mind-shift is required, from the perspective of GDPR as a blocker, to the idea that GDPR is a determining factor for health efficiency.

According to Dr Soro Blockchain is a very useful tool to boost safety. Not only would it allow the real-time sharing of health information between doctors and patients, it could also be used to verify digital identities, keep track of medical prescriptions and do this in a safe and anonymous way.

These considerations are in line with the Digital Transformation Team, which was represented in the conference by DPO Marta Colonna. The team is committed to building the “operating system” in Italy as a series of fundamental components as the basis for building simpler and more effective services for citizens, businesses and the Public Administration through innovative digital products.

Next up, were Massimo Moggi from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and Dino Pedreschi from University of Pisa, who presented two papers on the implications of technology revolutions and technologies of mobile communication in the socio-economic systems and how they pervade society.

A roundtable discussion wrapped the event. This gave PANACEA Research the chance to discuss the project’s focus on a people-centric approach to cybersecurity in healthcare, with toolkits that deal with both the technological aspects and human/organisational matters. This holistic approach, new technologies, new processes and people-centric is also underpinned by PANACEA’s Stakeholder Platform, which is open to new members.