Patient - Data - Security: Cyber threats in healthcare - are we at risk?


Tower Talks - Public discussion events at Roche

On 27 and 28 May 2020, in collaboration with ETH Zurich, we held our first virtual Tower Talk with the title "Patient - Data - Security: Cyber threats in healthcare - are we at risk?

A topic that is more relevant than ever. The world is scrambling to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 to prevent COVID-19. Access to sensitive and confidential patient data could be a game changer for researchers battling current and future pandemics, but what actually happens to your medical data? How do hospitals, universities, and healthcare providers share data to advance research? How will tomorrow’s cybersecurity infrastructure and governance protect us? Four experts discussed these questions in two virtual sessions.

Watch the video recordings of the event

This is what our experts said:

Fred Mpala, Head of DIA Product Cybersecurity at Roche Diagnostics International

«Cybersecurity is a collective responsibility. Everyone involved - be it the healthcare professional, the hospital, the device manufacturer, broader supply chain and so on - has a role to play to ensure data security and privacy. Digital trust is foundational for the acceleration of data sharing and this will be crucial to advance healthcare, unlock digital potential and develop new solutions.»

Katrin Crameri, Director Personalized Health Informatics at SIB - the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

«In healthcare so much valuable data is generated we could use for research. However, we need international data standards and technical interoperability to compare and use data systematically across systems. And it is key that patients are in control and can make informed decisions on whether their data can be used and for which purpose. For the development of personalized healthcare there is no doubt that access to data is key.»

Erik Dinkel, Chief Information Security Officer at the University Hospital Zurich

«Nowadays, cyber security is a complex challenge. In a hospital we have to protect and integrate hundreds of different devices for different purposes. There are huge dependencies between the different systems we use, so cybersecurity will always be the teamwork of our entire ecosystem. It is the interest and joint responsibility from all of us to protect our patients, employees and infrastructure.»

Adrian Perrig, Professor of Computer Science and Head of the Institute for Information Security at ETH Zurich

«Cyber attacks are getting more and more sophisticated. We can’t expect people to be able to recognize these threats using common sense, even when well trained. Therefore, we need improved technology and tools that support people in protecting their data.»


Chris Luebkeman, Arup Fellow and Director of Strategic Foresight at ETH Zurich moderates the ETH Zurich / Roche 2020 Tower Talks (Turmgespräche).

During the event, we did not have the time to answer some of the questions - please find a selection of responses here.

Further dates for Tower Talks are planned and will be published soon.

Tags: Tower Talks