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  • Pranav Kannan

Taking the Quantum Leap: How the new age of computing will evolve our healthcare infrastructure

01100100 01100001 01110100 01100001 (data) -- has become increasingly valuable as we enter the information age. In healthcare systems, these lines of binary could hold sensitive information about the patient, including medical history, social security, and medical care. Due to this importance, healthcare systems apply stringent cybersecurity measures to ensure their patients' data remains in the right hands [4]. Unfortunately, the number of cyberattacks and information breaches in hospitals has increased since 2012 to around 700 nationwide cyber attacks in 2022 alone [5]. This has catastrophic effects such as losing patient health data which could affect patient care and could lead to a massive scale of identity theft and fraud.


Now more than ever, we need to adapt to fend off cyber attacks and keep personal data safe -- that's where quantum computing comes in. Quantum computing uses principles from quantum physics and computer science to perform complex calculations and, more precisely, store information. Instead of having data only represented by 1s and 0s, quantum computing allows data to be stored in any state between 0 and 1, basically allowing systems to keep vast numbers compared to normal computers [1]. This unique feature of quantum computing called superposition allows for unhackable privacy protection. Superposition is the ability for an object to exist in multiple states at the same time -- this allows for greater flexibility in storing data. The latest invention of advanced cryptography is the Quantum Key Distribution, which applies quantum physics algorithms to produce a random secret key that cannot be hacked [1]. Thus, if hospitals could implement this technology, no one would be able to breach patient data and exploit it. With more widespread use of quantum computing in medical security, we could effectively eliminate cyberattacks while keeping our data in the right hands.

Though this technology is up-and-coming -- quantum computing is still in its primitive stages of development. Currently, scientists are focused on a few challenges such as creating units of information that can apply principles like superposition and making sure these information units don't collapse and delete data [3]. Additionally, storing information in quantum computing is challenging as we need to know if user input is recorded correctly without destroying the data. Moreover, there are ethical implications, such as global equitable access to quantum technology. Developing and building quantum computers requires significant expenses and is only possible for experts in the field to use at the moment. Thus, both education accessibility and socioeconomic barriers will prevent the rapid growth of quantum cryptography [2].

ψ⟩=α∣0⟩+β∣1⟩ -- As we enter a new quantum information age, data will start to be stored like this rather than just 1's and 0's. We must begin adapting to these healthcare hackers -- our first step should be to develop more robust cryptography measures that use elements of quantum physics to prevent data breaches. Though there are significant limitations with the scalability and use of quantum computing -- I am confident that quantum computing will eventually revitalize the healthcare infrastructure and create a safer tomorrow.


Reviewed by: Harrison Pham

Designed By: Jessica Pham


Sources

  1. Ur Rasool, R., Ahmad, H. F., Rafique, W., Qayyum, A., Qadir, J., & Anwar, Z. (2023, February 27). Quantum Computing for Healthcare: A Review. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/1999-5903/15/3/94

  2. Kiesow Cortez, E., Bambauer, J. R., Guha, S., & Fleming, S. (2023, July 20). A quantum policy and ethics roadmap. SSRN. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4507090

  3. Shams, M., Choudhari, J., Reyes, K., Prentzas, S., Gapizov, A., Shehryar, A., Affaf, M., Grezenko, H., Gasim, R. W., Mohsin, S. N., Rehman, A., Rehman, S., & Gasim, R. (2023, October 31). The quantum-medical nexus: Understanding the impact of quantum technologies on Healthcare. Cureus. https://www.cureus.com/articles/194442-the-quantum-medical-nexus-understanding-the-impact-of-quantum-technologies-on-healthcare#!/

  4. AHA. (n.d.). The importance of cybersecurity in protecting patient safety: Cybersecurity: Center: AHA. American Hospital Association. https://www.aha.org/center/cybersecurity-and-risk-advisory-services/importance-cybersecurity-protecting-patient-safety#:~:text=By%20failing%20to%20keep%20patient,delivery%20may%20also%20be%20jeopardized.

  5. 2022 healthcare cybersecurity year in review, and a 2023 look-ahead. www.hhs.gov. (n.d.). https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/2022-retrospective-and-2023-look-ahead.pdf?lv=true

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