The Digital Revolution in Healthcare
The healthcare industry grows more digital by the day. Between electronic patient records, wearables, patient monitoring equipment, medical dispensary systems, and more, there is a slew of ways that criminal hackers can gain unauthorized access to sensitive patient information. As the reliance on technology expands, increasing the sophistication of data security measures is vital.
The digitization of healthcare records, as much a security effort as an efficiency effort, has, perhaps ironically, created new targets for malicious agents. The value of data stored, personally identifying information (PII) such as social security numbers, for example, has always made the industry a likely target. That’s not changed. But the way in which information is stored and accessed has. Unlike in the retail or financial sector, the value of data stolen in a healthcare breach never diminishes. In a retail setting, damage to the individual consumer dissipates once the breach is identified, credit cards are replaced, and PIN/access codes are changed. However, certain personal information and medical histories do not change. Its value never diminishes. Therefore, the damage cannot be undone quite as easily.
One of the largest threats to healthcare information is the thought that just “checking the compliance boxes” equates to being secure. Regulatory compliance requirements provide an excellent framework, and often specific guidelines, for protecting data, but risks cannot be fully addressed unless organizations adopt a compliance and security-centric mindset as well. This applies to everything ranging from patient data capture to electronic medical record storage, protection and authentication of intellectual property such as clinical trial records, and more.
With proper adoption of a security-centric mindset, the value of next-generation healthcare tools can be significant to both providers and patients. This encompasses not just technology, but also the people implementing them, as well as the processes surrounding its operation and maintenance.