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Report: Health care exec concerned about supply chain, cyberattacks

Written on Sep 21, 2022

Health care executives see cyberattacks, supply chain disruptions and tax policy changes as the top risks of 2022, according to a report from PwC. 

The PwC Pulse: Managing Business Risks report reflects responses from 722 U.S. executives gathered Aug. 1 - 5, 2022. 

The executives included CFOs, finance leaders, tax leaders, risk management leaders, COOs and technology leaders. The respondents were from public and private companies in six sectors: health industries, industrial products, consumer markets, financial services, technology energy and utilities. 

Cyberattacks topped the list of risks for health care executives, with 43% of leaders citing them as a serious risk to their organization. Cyberattacks were more of a concern for health care executives than other leaders, as 40% of respondents overall said they saw cyberattacks as a risk. 

However, cyberattacks were still the number one business risk for all sectors. 

Health care companies have started using technology in real-time detection and defense as the threat of data breaches, ransomware attacks and patient data leaks increases. 

Nearly one in four health care executives said they are already seeing benefits from using artificial intelligence in cyber defense, according to the report. 

Health care executives also saw supply chain disruptions and tax policy changes as more concerning than other leaders. For example, 41% of health care leaders said these issues were serious business risks compared to 34% of other leaders who said supply chain disruptions were a risk and 28% who said tax policy changes were a risk. 

Leveraging enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems may help health care systems improve supply chain management even as the industry experiences disruptions. 

Specifically, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies may experience tax policy changes due to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to lower the cost of prescription drugs and health insurance. 

Rising production costs and talent acquisition and retention are also creating concerns for the health care industry, with 37% and 31% of health care executives citing these areas as business risks. 

The health care industry has been facing significant staffing shortages in all sectors since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, new COVID-19 variants are spreading rapidly, adding strain to health care professionals’ workflows. 

“We expect payer, provider and pharmaceutical and life sciences executives to continue preparing for those risks, along with the potential for recession as we move further into the inflation cycle,” the report stated. 

In the next year, health care executives reported plans to invest in IT (59%), digital transformation (57%) and cybersecurity and privacy (57%). 

Around half of the health care executives (51%) said they are increasing investments in research and development (R&D) and innovation compared to 40% of respondents overall. 

However, executives from other sectors had similar priorities as health care leaders. Overall, executives are increasing investments in digital transformation (53%), IT (52%), cybersecurity and privacy (49%) and customer experience (48%). 

Additionally, 63% of businesses have already changed or are planning to change processes to address labor shortages. 

Executives also said they are focusing their business strategies on growth (83%), revising or enhancing their cyber risk management (79%) and transforming business processes (78%).