Title: Availability of healthcare services in a network-based scenario

Authors: Roberto Setola

Addresses: Complex Systems & Security Lab, Universita Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, via E. Longoni 83, 00155 Roma, Italy

Abstract: In this paper, we illustrate how the third millennium healthcare system is strongly related to many networked infrastructures. This contributes to improving its efficiency and efficacy but, at the same time, introduces new and very dangerous elements of vulnerability that should be carefully taken into account. These vulnerabilities are mainly induced by the presence of different, and many times hidden or poorly known, dependencies and interdependencies existing among the different infrastructures. These interdependencies induce an augmentation of possible threats and the occurrence that negative consequences of a failure might be largely amplified owing to the presence of the cascade and/or feedback phenomena. To better illustrate the possible catastrophic scenarios induced by this framework, the Input-output Inoperability Model (IIM) has been applied on a modern hospital to compare its behaviour, in the presence of a failure in the IP network, with that of a more classical structure.

Keywords: interdependencies; complex network; e-health; critical infrastructures; input-output inoperability model; electronic healthcare; networking; vulnerabilities; network infrastructures; network failure; healthcare technology; IP networks.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2007.013539

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2007 Vol.4 No.2, pp.130 - 144

Published online: 04 May 2007 *

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