The Truth About EHRs: Are They Getting More Secure?

Electronic Health Records are growing in use, as 50% of patients are now estimated to be online and using the internet to access medical history and test results.

EHRs are seen by many in the medical profession as a positive step for a number of valid reasons; however, there are still plenty of doubts about how protected this sensitive data really is.

Health informatics graduates will already be aware that as with any new technology and system implementation on such a grand scale, there are going to be some IT issues and bumps in the road before a system is 100% implemented.

Security Standards

As with any new technologies, security systems are still evolving. Breaches often happen – think the recent Anthem breach that affected millions of people – that threaten widespread implementation of health technologies.

The FBI has issued a warning to healthcare providers that weak cyber security standards will leave their computer systems vulnerable to hackers.

As more EHR systems come online and more of us become connected to our medical records, it is considered vital by many that all healthcare providers take every step possible to protect patient’s records from being compromised.

Room for Improvement

There is certainly room for improvement in keeping data secure. As new health laws now offer bonus payments to healthcare providers who can prove that they are more efficient as a result of accurate digital record use, there is an air of cautious optimism that EHR’s could be getting more secure.

Secure patient portals and a restriction on the use of standard emails to communicate with doctors are just two initiatives that show there is progress being made towards making patient records are safe online.

Resources:
http://www.amednews.com/article/20121120/business/311209997/8/
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/20/us-cybersecurity-healthcare-fbi-idUSKBN0GK24U20140820
http://www.chcf.org/patient-portals/background
http://www.pymnts.com/news/2015/anthem-breach-put-8-8-million-non-customers-data-at-risk/#.VO5K23bDGYU

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