DIGIHEALS project launches

Aug. 18, 2023

According to an Aug. 17 press release, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), launched the Digital Health Security (DIGIHEALS) project. The project aims to protect the U.S. healthcare system’s electronic infrastructure. The project will ask for proposals for proven technologies developed for national security through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) and apply them to civilian health systems, clinical care facilities, and personal health devices.

The press release stated, “DIGIHEALS aims to ensure patients continue to receive care in the wake of a widespread cyberattack on a medical facility — like those that have caused hospitals to close their doors permanently.”

Further, “By focusing on cutting-edge security protocols, vulnerability detection, and automatic patching, this effort seeks to reduce the ability for bad actors to attack digital health software and enable the prevention of large-scale cyberattacks. In addition to addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities, the project aims to identify and fix software-related weaknesses that affect patient safety and experience.”

Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D., director, ARPA-H said, “The DIGIHEALS project comes when the U.S. healthcare system urgently requires rigorous cybersecurity capabilities to protect patient privacy, safety, and lives. Currently, off-the-shelf software tools fall short in detecting emerging cyberthreats and protecting our medical facilities, resulting in a technical gap we seek to bridge with this initiative.”

Proposals for DIGIHEALS can be submitted through the Scaling Health Applications Research for Everyone (SHARE) BAA. Multiple awards under the DIGIHEALS area of focus for the SHARE BAA are expected and resources available will depend on the quality of the proposals received and the availability of funds.

ARPA-H has the press release.

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