Healthcare hacks are up, and the integrity of an industry enshrined by the Hippocratic no-harm principle, is under threat. Data analytics recorded a triple fold increase in patient record breaches in a one-year period, while 2022 projections point to an exponential climb of 44% in hacking incidents. Loss of investor confidence, patient trust, and provider professionalism, can have terminal consequences for any healthcare service. The industry is taking the issue seriously with widespread adoption of decentralized data storage, and an increase in staff training and surveillance.
Privacy by Design – Decentralizing Data Storage
The operation of healthcare services requires extensive patient data collection. Data collaboration enables services to merge internal with external sources. This was often done by uploading all the data into a third-party centralized environment where it was then vulnerable to attacks and unsolicited access. Newer methods strengthen control as services have their own unique private cloud-secured data storage location. The key component of this approach is that the data never moves from its storage point, with access permission granted to the owner and other authorized collaborators.
The Human Touch – Contain and Detect
Any cyber protection regime will only be as strong as the team administering its systems. Healthcare providers tighten controls by ensuring that all staff receive regularly updated training. Educating employees on the symptoms of a ransomware attack for example, a virus contained and triggered via email, text message, or other electronic communication, can result in time-sensitive alert and response plans. Adjacent to this, many facilities, such as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, use protection practices that deidentify patient data. This allows for partnered research to be undertaken without risking the breach of identifying patient data. The Mayo Clinic has also invested heavily in data privacy start-up Triple Blind in an effort to further innovation in the area. Meanwhile, non-profit healthcare services, such as the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philadelphia region, has also partnered with a data security team to preemptively deal with the threat of data breaches.
The evolution of healthcare services is part of the bigger picture, the impetus of human beings towards expansion. It’s also threatened by the very sophistication that heralds its growth. The more complex our data systems become, the more open they are to corruption and potential misuse. In 2022 a great many healthcare providers will be initiating health checks of their own data security systems in an attempt to reduce the incidence of data violations and enable their businesses to thrive.