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How the Healthcare Sector Can Tackle Data Protection Challenges

The black market value of confidential medical information is now ten times that of a person’s credit card number – meaning demand for this kind of data is at an all-time high. With cyber-attacks on healthcare records having almost doubled in the last five years, the healthcare industry is clearly lagging behind others in terms of data security. So what are high-ups in the field doing to catch up?

Awareness and education are key – with the digitisation of patient records a relative novelty in many hospitals and practices, members of staff may still be simply getting used to these new methods of record-keeping and thus unaware of the potential pitfalls of using the software incorrectly. It’s therefore imperative to close these security gaps with proper training, both in use of the software and in the risks of using it improperly.

Be picky about your partners – converting years’ worth of paper patient records to digital is a massive job which needs outsourcing – but those who don’t pick reputable IT companies or choose the cheapest or fastest option put their confidential data at risk. Once the conversion is complete, a reputable data shredding company such as Datashredders should be called in to securely shred surplus paper documentation.

Step up security – a simple username and password just isn’t enough anymore, and if a reputable, reliable IT company is chosen, they should be able to encrypt all confidential data, further securing it against cyber-attack.

Resources in the healthcare industry are often stretched and staff are regularly under pressure. But with the penalties for breaching the Data Protection Act reaching up to £500, 000, and the tiniest gap in your security being all that fraudsters and identity thieves need, a top-down attitude of constant vigilance towards data security must be shared by doctors, nurses, administrative staff and executives alike.