Data protection in MedTech

September 12, 2022

Hello, our fellow readers!

Recently, at WORKITNOW, we came across an article about imposing a 10,000 PLN fine for disclosure of patient data and decided to create a post that will be a go-through of all the information about data usage in the medical field. Having been tied to the MedTech and HealthTech subject for a while now, we feel that knowledge is power, and everybody should be aware of how their data is used.

Data sets are the largest assets of theMedTech companies and have been constantly increasing in value. Have you ever lied to your doctor? According to the survey by TermLife2Go, 23% of patients lie to their doctors. It is another example of why data plays such a crucial role in the medical field. There’s no way to make an accurate diagnosis without complete patient history and the truth about their lifestyle. WhenMedTech data is available, professionals are able to discover real, unbiased information.

The nature of data in MedTech makes it require greater protection, and it is not enough to implement traditional physical safeguards and data security measures. It is like having one lock on your house door. You are kind of protected, but having three locks would feel even better.Information is held in systems that are often prone to cyber-attacks. There is a need for a clear, written confidentiality policy and periodic training of employees in this area.

The greater the transparency of rights and obligations, the better. A good entrustment agreement takes into account:

a)    Who collects the data from the source – what is the process like?

b)    Who has a relationship with the source of the data – who can see the data?

c)    Whether there are potential fields of conflict related to the use of data from the source – is the usage allowed?

d)    Whether existing rights and consents cover the intended use of the data – is the cover enough?

e)    What uses of the data are permitted – what is the scope of data?

f)     Responsibility for maintaining or securing the data – who does it, and how does it work?

g)    Responsibilities in the event of potential non-compliance or data breach situations – what is the process?

h)    Detailed consideration of the effects of termination – what happens next?

The gathered information must remain confidential to the public but easily accessible for healthcare professionals who use the data to save lives.

The process of obtaining and using data is not back-breaking, but it is critical to be aware of every stage. We decided to additionally include points of the Healthcare data lifecycle and some security advice from the site TB consulting:

1.    Creation – product designers and users need to be mindful of how devices collect and share data

2.    Maintenance and storage – the use of MedTech can only lead to positive effects if the data is reliable and clean

3.    Usage – data is used to improve the efficiency of pharmaceutical research

4.    Publication– data transmission is crucial in the delivery of tailored care to patients

5.    Archiving –as we said earlier, there has to be a piece of information about how long the records must be kept

6.    Destruction –data that fulfilled its goal must be deleted

The entire point of databases in healthcare isto collect information about healthcare operations. What pieces of data are actually collected? Medications, prescriptions, procedures, operations data, and registries like encounter and discharge forms. The amount of data collected daily would be equal to the sick amount of court fields. What we mean is that it is almost impossible to imagine.

Life would be full of rainbow colors and perfection if the healthcare databases could reach their full potential. Why isn’t it possible at the moment? Clinical omissions, delays, and misunderstandings of coding and terminology can cause differences that confound crucial database data. To ensure that administrative healthcare data is as accurate and understandable as feasible for effective healthcare implementations, it is pivotal for people who manage healthcare database systems to work toward thorough, accurate reporting and consistent terminology.

According to the Ponemon Institute, an alarming 67% of medical-care organizations have experienced cyber-attacks, and 33% of them have been victimized twice or more.

What is frightening? These healthcare organizations are responsible for securing, monitoring, and maintaining patient data that powers their industry. Taking information from the site, the issues with cybersecurity range from malware to DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. That is huge!

Disruptions to cybersecurity have a direct impact on patient care. For example, when hospital equipment and data transfer depend on the internet connection, even something as minor as connectivity failure might have serious repercussions.

Healthcare is a tasty morsel for attackers.Let’s go through the reasons why:

1.    Private information is worth a lot of dinero

As we said before, healthcare facilities store a massive amount of data. This kind of data can be sold swiftly, thus why the attacks happen almost daily.

2.    Usage of outdated technology

If you were to steal private information, would you start by attacking a server containing one hundred thirty authenticators and passwords, or would you go through a less complicated system? Precisely.

3.    Access to data must be remote

In the age of remote working, the healthcare industry is not a grandpa. Connecting to a network remotely can be dangerous, especially with outdated technology.  

4.    Lack of education about online risks

Solutions are complicated, and medical staff needs a network that is easy to access.

5.    A lot of devices in hospitals require different types of protection but at the same time, the information has to be open and shareable

One device becoming a target equals the danger of leaking the entire network. There is no space for weak links!

We hope that our master-post has helped you understand the need of having a clear, understandable policy concerning healthcare databases. Share the knowledge with your peers and to the next one! 😊

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