Misinformation, cyberattacks will erode trust in healthcare in 2022: Report

With escalating cyberattacks on hospitals and health systems and the continued spread of health misinformation online, the healthcare industry is headed for an exit from the "trusted category" next year, according to a recent Forrester report.

For its Predictions 2022: Healthcare report, Forrester examined the state of healthcare in the U.S. and how threats like misinformation and increasing cyberattacks will affect public trust. 

Five report insights: 

1. While public trust in healthcare dropped by only 1 point to 66 percent in 2021, the continued erosion of trust in healthcare organizations will force more clinics to close and increase risks of worsening population health as patients will avoid treatment for conditions, the report predicts. 

2. Misinformation has spread rapidly on social media platforms, even infiltrating platforms built for clinicians. Doximity, a health IT and telehealth networking platform often referred to as the "LinkedIn for doctors," dealt with some COVID-19 misinformation and anti-vaccine content posted from physician members earlier this year, CNBC reported in August. 

3. Twelve people are responsible for 65 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation on major social media platforms, according to the report. The 12 individuals, referred to as the "disinformation dozen," are alternative health entrepreneurs, physicians and a chiropractor, according to a study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate published in May.

4. In cybersecurity, healthcare is the most attacked industry, has the highest average cost of a data breach and the slowest incident response time, according to the report. Cybersecurity investment initiatives are expected to hit $125 billion between 2021-25 in response to the increasing number of threat actors and weak digital systems. 

5. Healthcare will continue falling lower in trust until it can solve its misinformation and cybersecurity risk problems, the Forrester report predicts.

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