Know about data security in healthcare

Presently, the healthcare sector is adopting various technologies rapidly. The most crucial section of a hospital information system today is Electronic Health Record (EHR), where hospitals store patients’ information.

Further, innumerable applications are being used by hospital staff for monitoring medical facility’s performance in terms of both monetary and success rates. In addition to this, patients also use different health monitoring applications and devices to keep a tab on their vitals and communicate the same with doctors through wireless and mobile technologies.

As computers have become an inseparable part of our daily lives, it becomes indispensable to pave focus on data security. Especially in the healthcare sector, where the final aim is to secure someone’s life, which is feasible only if doctors have access to correct data. Thus, securing computers and interfaces which store private medical data is important to consider.

Data security means controlling access to information while allowing its free access to those who need it.

Though extensive digitalization of information has improved the functionality of the healthcare sector, the information security risk is also real.

Given the sensitive nature of healthcare data, it is imperative for healthcare providers to have a robust information security system in place. It means data security in healthcare should not only revolve around safeguarding healthcare data but also predicting and protecting it from cyber assaults.

Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of cases where cybercriminals have shown more interest in stealing medical records than bank account passwords. The reasons are obvious. The data in electronic medical records contain complete information- patient’s name, date of birth, phone number, residence address, workplace address, insurance number, etc. Stealing this information can lead to complete identity theft.

Further, unlike financial institutions, there is weak protection for patients’ medical data. For instance, banks use two-factor authentication for its customers. Banks allow their customers to access the information only after entering the one-time password. It is essential to develop such a system of data security in healthcare.

Let’s have a look at some of the measures for security testing in healthcare that should be implemented to secure data environment.

Acceptance of the threat

Healthcare sector is certainly the target of criminals, who may hold patients’ data and another financial information hostage until they receive payment. Healthcare sector should understand that without robust security measures, they are putting themselves and their patients’ security at risk. To curtail this risk, they must create a comprehensive cybersecurity program.

Review and update protocols

Organisations should clearly define security testing in healthcare to address how staff should interact with technology. Where possible, it is crucial to implement two-factor identification to ensure privacy is protected. While setting parameters for passwords, be sure they are strong. For instance, a password should be the combination of alphabets, numbers and symbols. Further, one should change passwords every 30 or 60 days. It is indispensable to unilaterally apply these techniques across the company- from top management to front-line staff.

Train staff on the risk and responsibilities

Organisations should offer comprehensive training to their employees on the importance of data security in healthcare. For instance, staff should be trained to identify regular suspicious email communications that could be dangerous. They should be encouraged to reach out to IT staff in case they are sceptical about the email’s authenticity. Training should be provided on a regular basis to keep them updated about new threats and security measures.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of alternative

It is hard to ignore the risk of cyber-attacks, especially when patients’ privacy is at stake. By following the above-listed tips, organisations can better ensure data security in healthcare and focus on what they do best- serving patients.

Author : Prateek


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