Security of patient records has always posed as a challenge in healthcare. The cyber-threat landscape is rapidly evolving, and it has become increasingly challenging in the protection against cyber threats.
Financial data such as credit card numbers become unusable after a change of credit card numbers and credentials. Medical records on the other hand are not perishable, which makes them very valuable.
Highly confidential information such as family history, demographic data and insurance data can be used to commit medication fraud, insurance fraud and a wide array of crimes through identity theft.
Challenges in Healthcare Data Protection and Security:
The security and protection of patient health records have proven to be complicated undertaking:
Incomprehensible volume of health data are being created on an ongoing basis. The growth in Internet of Things (IOT) are also contributing to the complexity of data management – at rest and in motion. Apart from medical devices in healthcare institutions, wearable technologies such as Fitbit capture everyday activities such as heart rates, blood pressure, sleep patterns etc. on an ongoing basis in large volumes.
Integration and Interoperability of Systems
Interoperability of electronic medical records (EMR) systems increases the complexity of data transfer between each other. Add in cloud computing, and the need to communicate between external systems, data protection and oversight have become exponentially challenging.
Patients wants to be empowered with self-service capabilities such as appointment scheduling or sharing of medical data. These demands require data to be communicated across various internal and external systems. This translates to higher vulnerability to cyber threats.
Complicating things further, electronic medical records (EMR) systems are built to allow any individual working in healthcare institution to access a massive database of highly confidential data. While vast majority of these personnel are trustworthy, a few bad actors can cause a breach of data privacy by internal leaks. Coupled with cyber threats, data security in the healthcare industry can foresee many challenges moving forward.