Guide to Keeping Medical Date Security in Health Care in Digital World

Now identity thefts moved to digital medium and available to steal patient’s personal information through online health care portals.

The Problem of Medical Security

Developing digital technologies in the health care and pharmacy industry opens new ways to online criminals who steal personally identifiable information (PPI). Medical and insurance portals are targeted by hackers more often than financial systems as they are easier to penetrate and contain lots of valuable information containing not only personal data but also medical details and details insurance policies.

PPI of patients can be used to obtain treatment and medical services for persons not legible to medical insurance or to charge individuals or insurance companies for services that were never received and opening credit cards under the guise of medical purposes.

Electronic exchange of data in health care is increasingly growing, and the security of patient portals becomes a paramount objective for healthcare providers. To reduce the vulnerability of their systems, medical record keepers and insurers should adhere to a reliability concept and follow privacy regulations and comply with federal laws and government acts, such as HITECH Act and HIPAA in the USA, Directive on Data Protection in the EU, and PIPEDA in Canada.

In practice, a formal following the regulations does not protect from unauthorized access and fraudulent use of the medical data. 2015–2016, when the number of security breaches reached the maximum, were crucial years for digital healthcare security that posed new problems to solve.

To prevent attacks of cybercriminals, digital medical record keepers, insurance companies, health providers, and online portals for managing drug prescriptions should increase their security using advanced Internet security solutions.

Objectives of Increased Online Security

Increased awareness about methods online data thefts use to breach security can help health care facilities and insurance companies to stay alert and timely take measures for data protection.

Using professional services and implementation the best security practices are the bare necessity for portals that want to remain uncompromised and protect themselves from financial and reputational damage. Using data leakage strategies to prevent spreading the data and using it for malicious purposes, including selling personal health information, is what helps digital healthcare portals to stop cyber attacks.

Security Policy Outlines

According to IBM X-Force research, only in the first six months of 2015 more than 5 million electronic health records were compromised, which has become a stimulus for developing new security technologies in the field. Forbes claims that the number of records stolen in the 2015 attack on the Anthem server exceeded 78 million.

Online fraudsters can use the data variously, starting from blackmailing, reputational damage and selling personal health information to those who are interested in receiving getting free medical care at someone else account to billing companies and individuals for services they have never received.

Often, hacker’s attacks aim ransomware. As statistics say, 70% of owners of the portals that have been tampered tend to pay malevolent intruders to get data back, with costs varying from $10,000 to 40,000 per intrusion.

Techniques to protect data from security breaches may include:

  • Using secure encryption
  • Storage of data on secure servers instead of personal and company computers or mobile devices
  • Using cyber defense platform
  • Using reliable software for keeping and providing health care records

Current trends in electronic health care suggest that more volumes of medical data will be generated via the Web in the near future, as health care inevitably moves online. Now, not only insurers store their data digitally but hospitals, clinics, and private physicians maintain electronics health records. Implementation of digital services for prescription drugs and filling prescriptions online opens a new lot of health care data kept on the Internet. All this imposes the task of secure access to the data for individuals that use services and companies that manage the data.

Health providers face the situation when they have numerous threats and many ways to protect themselves, but the choice of the best security methods is rather complicated.

When implementing security systems, it is necessary to keep many factors in mind to consider the best solution:

  • Data volume, data type, and related risks
  • Different types of access for executives, medical personnel, and patients
  • Different levels of authentification for different operations (e.g. making an appointment with a physician requires less security than managing personal data)

Over securing can also cause stress for users of the system, including patients, physicians, and nurses who keep medical records. On the other hand, the too complicated security system can also be a heavy financial burden that will increase health care expenses. The decision should be made on a reasonable base without involving unnecessary, complicated, and costly solutions.

Cloud storage of data is a good modern solution when health care facilities delegate responsibility to manage their data to global providers of cloud storage services, though those services are also often undergoing attacks. Such companies like IBM offer unified security solutions with decreased risks and reasonable pricing.

The task of secure managing medical data is challenging, but it worth investing time and assets. To be in step with the times, healthcare providers cannot avoid electronic data keeping, which requires up-to-date security solutions.