Why Data Protection is Important in the Health Industry

The world is becoming more and more paperless. This is being applied not only for the environment-conscious people but for almost everyone as most organizations now prefer to store data in a system rather than piling tons of files in the workplace.

The advancement of technology also impacted the healthcare industry.  Some medical processes can now be accessed online. Different kinds of apps are being developed for the convenience of the patients and data are being secured in a database. However, this doesn’t exempt us from the attack of criminals. As technology grows, cybercrime also increases. To make sure that medical personnel are equipped with the right knowledge on how to protect data security.

Patient’s Information

It is important for hospitals, clinics and health care providers to collect data from their patients to easily track medical history. Here are the most common information being gathered for medical purposes:

  • Patient’s Name
  • Birthdate
  • Address
  • Contact Numbers
  • Card Numbers
  • Medical Insurance

Securing Data in Healthcare

According to hhs.gov, “Information security is the protection of information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification or destruction.” Securing data in healthcare is as important as gathering them.

Why is this need to be protected?

1. To avoid identity theft.

The health industry is not exempted from cyber attacks. In fact, it is now becoming the target of most cybercriminals to gain profit as hospitals usually have a low security. Hackers usually steal the information of a patient by breaking into the organization’s website or by using phishing campaigns on the patient’s email address. Data stolen is being used to create fake identifications to buy medical equipment or use medical insurances at the expense of others.

2. For the patient’s safety.

As mentioned earlier, some cybercriminals use medical insurances at the expense of others. This means that your medical bills aren’t just the thing that is in danger but also the patient’s health for the medical history cannot be modified. Doctors and physicians might be misled with the incorrect information due to the patient’s stolen identity. These errors can even cause fatal consequences when the patient is being wrongly diagnosed.

3. For the reputation of the hospital and healthcare providers.

Making sure that patients’ data is being protected will not only secure the individuals but will also maximize the hospital’s reputation. Negative experiences will not result in positive reviews so it is a must to keep the trust between healthcare providers and its patients.

Preventive Measures Against Intruders

Because of the rising percentage of cyber attacks on the healthcare industry, steps are being taken to make sure that data being stored are safeguarded while making sure that they comply with the HIPAA privacy rule. However, simply installing an antivirus software on the computer won’t make it fully safe.

One basic way of protecting data is through system data encryption. It is a technique of translating a plain text into codes or secret keys. Data encryption may seem like a complicated process but it is also a great help to prevent data loss.

Another way health organizations do to secure data is to limit access on modification and transmission of data. Most of the time, data access depends on the medical hierarchy. Medical directors must have full access on the system while interns or medical students can only view or do not have access at all. Login passwords must also be confidential.

And for those who have access to important data, practicing analytics and strengthening authentication will help them identify threatening patterns. A multi-factor authentication doesn’t only involve passwords so it typically rises the effectiveness of security on the system and computer network.

The healthcare industry is now extremely vulnerable to intruders so it is essential to find the right solution and add layers of protection to your organization’s data to lessen the risk of being attacked by cybercriminals.

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