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The WannaCry cyber attack on the NHS was no doubt devastating, but it could have been a lot worse and should serve as a wake-up call.

ransomwear hackers attack NHSThere's no denying that WannaCry, the "biggest ransomware outbreak in history", was devastating to the NHS, affecting around 48 hospitals and trusts up and down the UK.

NHS computers were among tens of thousands around the world hit by ransomware demands of around $300, stopping staff from doing their jobs and putting lives at risk.  The cost of the attack is still racking up for the NHS in terms of lost productivity, cancelled appointments, IT infrastructure upgrades and more, but the saving grace from the whole saga is that the attackers did not steal any key data from the NHS.

While ransomware halts your systems, data theft is a far more dangerous threat. Once data has left the perimeter of your company's network, the consequences can be much more severe because, as an organisation, you will never be able to gain total control of that data again.

wifi networkThe entire NHS estate will soon be able to access free internet as part of NHS Digital’s Wifi Programme.
It aims to get all GP practices set up by the end of 2017, with hospitals and secondary care to follow in 2018. The project’s aim is to support health and care professionals to have access to services, tools and technologies to deliver better care – according to a NHS Digital spokeswoman.

The first phase (of the three-step programme) commenced earlier this year with NHS wifi installed in 991 GP practices across England. It allows patients to access the internet free of charge in their GP’s waiting room, via their smart phone or tablet. “NHS Digital is working to make sure that everyone can access free wifi in NHS sites in England, as set out in the NHS England General Practice Forward View”, an NHS Digital spokeswoman said. 

human heartThe UK's first artificial heart pump has moved a step closer to being used on patients, scientists have said.

It has been developed at Swansea University's Institute of Life Science 2 by Calon Cardio, and clinical trials are due to begin in late 2018 with the aim of a full rollout two years later.

The pump is implanted into the failing heart and should last about 10 years.

Stuart McConchie, chief executive of Calon Cardio, said it was the most-advanced pump of its kind.

"This is for a very sick group of people and there are millions of them in the world, and hundreds of thousands in the United Kingdom," he said.

 

NHS signNHS trusts overspent by £770m last year in the latest sign that hospitals are finding it impossible to meet fast-rising demand for care while their finances are facing an unprecedented squeeze. That total is £190m more than the £580m maximum that health service bosses had sought from England’s 236 NHS trusts in 2016-17.

The £770m has emerged from analysis of the trusts’ own official figures showing their financial performance in 2016-17 obtained by the Health Service Journal. Its publication sparked a fresh debate about whether the government is giving the NHS enough money to do its job properly.

About 100 of England’s 235 acute, mental health, community services and ambulance trusts ended the year in the red and dozens more only escaped recording a deficit through one-off savings or technical accounting measures, HSJ found.

general doctorEarlier this year, artificial intelligence scientist Sebastian Thrun and colleagues at Stanford University demonstrated that a “deep learning” algorithm was capable of diagnosing potentially cancerous skin lesions as accurately as a board-certified dermatologist.

The cancer finding, reported in Nature, was part of a stream of reports this year offering an early glimpse into what could be a new era of “diagnosis by software,” in which artificial intelligence aids doctors, or even competes with them.

Experts say medical images, like photographs, x-rays, and MRIs, are a nearly perfect match for the strengths of deep-learning software, which has in the past few years led to breakthroughs in recognizing faces and objects in pictures.

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