8 Dec 2014
Most people in the U.S. say that care more about protecting the privacy of their healthcare data than they do about being able to conveniently access that information. That said, according to a recent PwC Health Research Institute report, privacy will be sacrificed to apps/services that collect and analyze personal health information. Do-it-yourself healthcare is going to be huge, according to PwC’s “Top Health Industry Issues of 2015” report: “U.S. physicians and consumers are ready to embrace a dramatic expansion of the high-tech, personal medical kit. Wearable tech, smartphone-linked devices and mobile apps will become increasingly valuable in care delivery.” The report also predicts that healthcare tech will move from mobile apps to medical devices to “make diagnosis and treatment more convenient, while redoubling the need for strong information security systems.” More than half of physicians surveyed said they would use data from medical devices to prescribe medication to patients. The growing reliance on collection, transmittal and analysis of sensitive data was reflected in another report, this one by the ECRI Institute, which outlines the “Top 10 Health Technology Hazards,” and details the particular problems attendant to protecting health care devices. “Protecting medical devices against malware that could potentially affect the functionality of the device or the integrity of patient data is one key cybersecurity measure,” the report noted. “Unfortunately, healthcare facilities face a variety of obstacles that complicate the process of keeping medical devices up to date with the recommended operating system (OS) patches and anti-malware protections.” Encryption and access control for these devices is also crucial to compliance with HIPAA. ECRI recommended that clinical engineering, IT, and risk management departments work together to develop data security policies.