Healthcare data safety and security?

While there are lots of interesting discussions about big data and how we can predict what people will want to watch on Netflix or when someone might be pregnant, I’d like to discuss another big issue in healthcare – safety and security of the data.

This article discusses Living in the Healthcare Data Breach era and raises the issue of how to maintain and protect sensitive healthcare data such as patient records, social security numbers and more. Given that hospitals can be vulnerable to cyber attacks, what kinds of methods and procedures are in place for employees to deal with the data?

Several ideas come to mind:

  1. Training of staff – yes, all employees participate in a HIPAA training annually but is that enough? What measures are there to ensure that confidential data isn’t misused?
  2. IT –  is the IT department working on a regular basis to ensure that the healthcare information system is up-to-date and detect any potential vulnerabilities?
  3. If an attack were to happen, is there a plan in place to get a system running again so that operations and patient care can continue uninterrupted.

These are a few of many issues related to big data in healthcare dealing with safety, privacy laws and security. The point is to have systems and ongoing training to ensure that communication and strategy is understood across the board to protect patient records and the security and quality of our healthcare system.





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