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Using Encryption to Protect Vital Healthcare Data


When you go to the doctor or spend a night in the hospital, there is a substantial amount of data generated from your time with these medical professionals. When doctors use your sensitive information and transfer it to a computer network system, it's important that your personal data is secure through encryption.

Protecting Patient's Data Using Encryption

Admission records, diagnostic information, treatment and discharge data - all of this and much more is used by the correct staff to make sure that patients get the best treatment. But without an encryption system and effective data infrastructure, this information is at risk of being stolen, hacked or compromised.

Since a web network-based EHS system is the new industry norm, there are new challenges to keep access and security working together well. Different industry trends offer the best way to lock up personal records. From personal private encryption keys to public ones, there are even unique data algorithms from RSA to AES which work to secure data from would-be hackers.

With keys, only one password is needed per user to decode data in a private system. "Public keys" use a password that is focused on the information after it is downloaded, meaning that all files can be downloaded on the network, but only accessed once the correct user provides the official decryption key.

All information transferred through these computer-based networks, which are correctly encrypted, only show up as random numbers and bits unless the receiving device has the full 128 bit or longer unlock code needed to unscramble each piece of unique data.

To see any of the sent data, which is encrypted using a special key, would-be invaders must crack a randomly generated password chain which is not susceptible to brute force attacks or computer logic systems. The more security you have on your files and information, generally the better protected you are from letting data slip into the wrong hands.

Rules on Accessing Encrypted Medical Data

Patients' data from medical records needs to be secure but accessible since a doctor's access to these files is important to getting the best treatment available. A recent Quest Diagnostics study found that 87 percent of physicians think data access to medical records is important.

Many older systems - not based on connection sharing and ease of access - are frustrating for all parties. HIPPA requires the encryption of medical data, and it's the guiding legislation protecting consumer data in the medical field. This landmark legislation passed in 1996, and there have been many changes since then. It's part of the reason privacy and data ownership is one of the knottiest challenges in the sector.

Challenges Faced by Encryption for Healthcare Data

Backups of stored information and access through mobile devices are just two of the many external forces many people face when looking to develop encryption methods to protect medical files. Also, who truly owns the information for each patient? Is it safe to simply turn over ownership of all medical records to the very people who are receiving treatment? 

Many argue that these documents belong only in the hands of the professionals who understand them. Also, many doctors do not want open ownership of healthcare records for the simple fact that people could up and leave their current doctor whenever they choose.

Making a system that is both restrictive to protect data from getting out while simultaneously meeting the access needs and desires of the public is a never-ending challenge in this evolving landscape.

New Solutions for Encryption and Access

The cloud-based EHR systems are the future for the data encryption tools needed to meet the design specifications of our changing environment. These systems fully protect data backup, decrypt tech for access and offer a highly in-depth audit trail to keep specific information trackable and in the right hands.

These systems reduce intrusions and deny access to those looking to hack into patients' records using propriety encryption public or private keys. Also, having access 24/7 may seem like a risk, but it provides cost savings over paper and older methods as well.

Your Information Is Safe

Overall, the encryption methods used to protect your valuable medical data are important elements of the overall treatment and operation of the modern healthcare system. While the requirements may change, and the industry security protocols may be updated, your data is secure in modern web-based systems due to their limited access, protected transfer and storage of all sensitive information.


About the Author

Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits Follow her on Twitter to read all of her latest posts!
Published Wednesday, April 18, 2018 8:07 AM by David Marshall
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