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The Importance of Data Security in the Health Sector

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Technology has led to great strides in the healthcare sector. It has touched virtually every aspect of the industry from the way patient records are created and stored to the way surgeons operate and beyond. Of course, this development has led to a few problems as well. With patients’ information now being stored and shared digitally, hackers have found numerous new ways to get their hands on sensitive data and use it for their personal gain. 

Understanding Why Data Security Is Essential in Healthcare

Because of that, data security in the medical field is more important than ever before. Whether sharing patient information between medical facilities or using email to fax to transmit crucial test results or billing information, both patients and healthcare facilities must use extreme caution. With that being the case, it’s important to understand just why data security is so essential in the health sector. 

Patient Privacy

Obviously, patient privacy is one of the most crucial factors to consider here. Patients often share their most personal information with healthcare providers. Their share sensitive data for billing as well. All that information must be kept confidential to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Data breaches destroy trust, create fear and embarrassment, and can leave patients vulnerable to identity theft among other issues. In the healthcare sector, patient privacy is a legal requirement that’s regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act as well as other regulations. Perhaps even more importantly, it’s a matter of ethics. 

Compliance

Remaining in compliance with those previously mentioned regulations is a requirement for medical facilities. Those that fail to adhere to them may face serious consequences, not the least of which are fines and legal actions. Losing the trust of their patients and compromising their professional reputations can’t be overlooked, either. That’s another reason maintaining data security in healthcare is important.

Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft is a major concern these days. Even making a purchase at a local store or paying bills online can leave people vulnerable to identity theft. On top of that, medical identity theft has become a widely used strategy among hackers. They can use it to obtain prescription drugs or commit insurance fraud among other acts of wrongdoing. It can also provide a gateway into patients’ bank accounts. Preventing all these issues benefits patients and healthcare facilities.

Fostering Patient Safety

Additionally, data breaches can allow wrongdoers to change people’s medical records. To some, altering medical records may be little more than a joke. For others, it’s an act of pure maliciousness. Either way, it can have dangerous consequences for the patients it affects. It may lead to improper or unnecessary treatments, prescribing medications that react negatively with one another, and countless other problems. Data security is essential for keeping patients safe. 

Protecting Patients and Medical Facilities

These days, cyber threats are at an all-time high. It seems that every step taken to thwart hackers is met by even greater attempts to access people’s sensitive information. This can be particularly dangerous in the healthcare sector. It can lead to numerous problems from fraudulently altered medical records to identity theft and beyond. In the healthcare industry, data security is essential for safeguarding medical facilities as well as their patients against fraud, theft, ransomware, and the many other cyber threats that continue to emerge. 

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