3 Ways to Ensure Data Security in Healthcare

61% of healthcare organizations are worried about malware infiltrations according to Information Age, and for good reason. Data security in healthcare is a major issue: the sector suffered more than half of all cyber-attacks last year according to a report by security firm Cylance.

In part one of this blog series on healthcare, we discussed the importance of incorporating technology into healthcare services through an Enterprise Health Cloud (EHC) in order to meet growing customer needs and fill the gaps in staff deficits. But health data is highly sensitive and needs to be secured appropriately. Healthcare providers will need to plan their processes strategically and adopt a zero-tolerance policy with regards to security issues.

1- Design a secure digital environment

data security in healthcare

An EHC solution may enable new technologies, but it will need to communicate with legacy systems and access databases to work to its maximum efficiency. By wrapping these elements with a digital platform, you can bridge the gaps between all three systems, automating where possible and remove silos.

This digital environment will not only help you provide engaging digital health experience that patients expect. It will also ensure secure data integration between silos while enabling compliance with legalities surrounding patient data, such as the HIPAA in the US, the Data Protection Act in the UK for example.

Patients who require remote services and telemedicine will need both internal and external processes to be integrated. These processes will need to be linked to one another to provide remote monitoring and must be strictly governed to ensure top compliance when transferring sensitive personal data. As everything becomes more connected, the risk of security breaches rises.

Accenture suggests that parties in the ecosystem will need to work together in an ethical way to be sure they are securely managing critical information on patients. “On average, every breached health record will cost $355.

Not only do healthcare organizations lose money when data is compromised, they lose consumer trust. As AI delivers benefits of greater efficiency, transparency, and interoperability, organizations must maintain a clear focus on informational security,” says Accenture in its report, Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare’s New Nervous System.

Healthcare providers need to ensure that they build their services on a robust infrastructure with best-in-class security and risk tools. Workflows should be modeled to offer security end-to-end and be agile enough to evolve to meet the needs of the data security in healthcare as laws and regulations continually change.

2 –  Secure collaboration = Data security in healthcare

Collaborative working is essential in the healthcare industry, with units working together to provide the best solution for every patient. Healthcare is a complex web of communications with doctors, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, governments, medical providers and devices. They all need to be connected to each other and with the patient to enable the best possible care. This means sharing confidential patient information between these parties, but unfortunately, this opens up the risk of attack.

Data security in healthcare

“Connecting to a network remotely from new devices is risky, as not all devices will be secure,” observes IT Pro Portal. “Additionally, healthcare staff aren’t often educated in cybersecurity best practices. It’s crucial that compromised devices don’t get access to the network, as just one hacked device can leave a whole organization wide open.”

It’s important for healthcare CIOs to ensure that the issue of security does not slip under the radar during the adoption of new technologies. “Protecting patient care in today’s hyper-connected world depends almost entirely on protecting and optimizing the network and the services that run through them,” Eileen Haggerty, Senior Director of Enterprise Business Operations at NetScout told The Telegraph. “There is a great need for network administrators to be vigilant and disciplined – not only for performance but to prevent security disruptions.”

One option to enable secure data access and sharing across devices is risk-based authentication (RBA). “This solution makes risk analysis simpler by letting IT staff set up policies that determine the risk of a given device based on factors like the user, their location and more,” explains IT Pro Portal. “Any unusual activity is then flagged to make sure that sensitive patient data is never exposed to unsafe devices.”

3 – Take a security-first approach

When dealing with such sensitive information, healthcare providers should be trying to take a security-first approach as opposed to trying to impose it retrospectively. In fact, security can become a driver of innovation, rather than an obstacle. Digital platforms allow you to map operations to regulatory requirements. This gives you a highly visual way to check that you’re keeping all data secure every step of the way.

With a view like this in place, it’s also easier to see which parts of the process you can automate. There are two key reasons to do so. It’s more efficient than manual processes. Also, people can’t forget to do what’s automated. So you can be sure that what needs to happen will happen.

By deploying a BPM system that can automate processes, all parties in the healthcare ecosystem can ensure that their processes are in line with security regulations. They can also leave an automated audit trail to ensure that all steps taken can be referred back to if necessary to prove compliance.

With technology moving at such a fast pace, healthcare providers need to catch up and strike a balance between reducing costs, boosting efficiency and improving patient care.

Don’t let your legacy EHR hold you back. Embrace a connected view of your systems and deploy automation to enable a slick and secure healthcare service. To find out more about how we are helping healthcare providers respond, visit our healthcare page and ignite your digital transformation strategy with Bizagi’s Digital Business Platform.