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Aug 23, 2023Aug 23, 2023

The recently established Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which is housed within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has launched a new project to better protect the U.S. healthcare system’s IT infrastructure.

In light of the rising number of cyberattacks on medical facilities, ARPA-H launched the Digital Health Security (DIGIHEALS) project to identify proven technologies that will help medical facilities keep their doors open after a widespread cyberattack.

“The DIGIHEALS project comes when the U.S. healthcare system urgently requires rigorous cybersecurity capabilities to protect patient privacy, safety, and lives,” ARPA-H Director Dr. Renee Wegrzyn said in a press release. “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.”

DIGIHEALS will solicit technology proposals from industry through its Scaling Health Applications Research for Everyone (SHARE) broad agency announcement, which ARPA-H published earlier this month.

ARPA-H is looking for proposals with cutting-edge security protocols, vulnerability detection, and automatic patching that can help medical facilities identify and fix software vulnerabilities that affect patient safety before adversaries can exploit them.

“By adapting and extending security, usability, and software assurance technologies, this digital health security effort will play a crucial role in addressing vulnerabilities in health systems,” said ARPA-H Program Manager Andrew Carney. “This project will also help us identify technical limitations of future technology deployments and contribute to the development of new innovations in digital security to better keep our health systems and patients’ information secure.”

ARPA-H sits within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as an independent entity. President Biden made ARPA-H official through the fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill, which included $1 billion to create the new agency.

Proposals under the BAA are due on Sept. 7.

press releaseScaling Health Applications Research for Everyone (SHARE)