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_Common threats_How can we prevent them?_The standards_Our experience in healthcare _The first case_The second case_Final thoughts
Ela Nowicka

The importance of data security in the healthcare industry

As big data facilitated many areas in our lives, it also posed some serious problems. Especially healthcare records contain one of the most valuable knowledge available – the sensitive information. This, in turn, makes them a tempting target to hackers.

With more and more cyberattacks in the healthcare sector, we may begin to wonder – is there any way of preserving security and privacy? How can we control it? And lastly, what can we, software vendors, do to safeguard the data?

Common threats

When thinking about data vulnerability in healthcare, we can ask ourselves – how sensitive are personal medical records? And the answer is trivial – supersensitive. That’s why we have to ensure that we safeguard the data both from the inside and outside.

If you want to know more about the healthcare sector risks, read this article by Susan Morrow about Top Cyber Security Risks in Healthcare.

How can we prevent them?

One of the most controlled and at the same time, the attacked industry is healthcare. That’s why more and more regulations are initiated to control access to personal data and prevent any violations or breaches.

But the process should also start from its core which is healthcare organizations. From communication between staff members to a standard for exchanging information between medical applications – it’s all in there. To ensure that nothing will leak out, we introduce data security strategies and safety measures, such as encryption of patient data or access control. These include changing the password frequently, using a virtual private network (VPN) or avoiding storing data on users’ devices.

“We always place great emphasis on selecting third party providers – all external services must also be HIPAA / GDPR compliant.” 

Dominik Guzy, Chief Innovation Officer

The standards

Introducing compliances such as HIPAA and GDPR have a beneficial impact on data safety, both for patients and healthcare organizations. Thanks to them, only authorized personnel can view health information – no one else. 

What are other benefits? Above all, it’s reducing the chance of data breach. Moreover, these regulations show the organizations how sensitive data should be taken care of and facilitate efficient patient data management. They also ensure secure storage, transfer, and use of health information.

  • HIPAA

HIPAA is a federal law owing to which national standards were created to protect sensitive information from sharing it without the patient’s knowledge. These regulations allow individuals to control how their health information is used. 

HIPAA Security Rule required covered entities to implement Administrative, Physical, and Technical Safeguards to ensure that the received information is stored, transmitted and received safely and securely. Practices should include encryption and decryption in backing up, restoring and transmitting electronic patient information. That’s the reason why, when developing projects, we have to comply with HIPAA regulations.

Get to know more about HIPAA from Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

  • GDPR

In the European projects, we have GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation. These Articles are used to synchronize data privacy laws in the European Union.

First of all, we take into account the security of the data. Hence, strong password hashing algorithms, for which we always suggest the highest possible entropy, taking care of high quality and safety of the code. This includes, among others, internal security review.

Our experience in healthcare

Our cooperation with various clients lets us continually improve our process while still adapting it to their work. We also have experience in multiple industries and types of projects, thanks to which we continuously extend and update our knowledge.

Lastly, as the product’s protection is one of the primary goals at Gorrion, we always make sure that the digital product is well-secured. Let me tell you about one of our projects and the difficulties that we had to overcome.

The first case

In the hospital networks, there’s a great deal of vulnerability. That’s why healthcare organizations implement more and more safety measures to prevent any leaking of the information. One of such cases on which we had a chance to work is that hospital computers can’t be connected to the internet.

Our app used for quality assurance of medical imagining devices needed network access to function correctly. Thus, we had to add mechanisms that would make the app work offline. And we did it. The app can run without the internet, and what’s best about it is that it doesn’t affect its usefulness. It synchronizes later on, once there’s a connection with the internet.

When the app is installed or set up, it needs to access the internet to download the data properly (and this process can be performed outside of the hospital network). Other than that, it can work on its own. It doesn’t need the internet. Thus, keeping the internal hospital network secure.

The second case

Another one is within the same project and has to do with the lack of internet connection in hospital computers. This time, we had to solve the problem of sending the test image immediately to the server to be analyzed. But how to send it without the internet?

Although the computers don’t have the access, they’re all connected to one proxy server. It acts as a gateway between the hospital computers and the internet. Thanks to this, they can send pictures to this computer, which sends the images to our server. It ensures that the image will be immediately sent and analyzed. So, everything runs automatically and smoothly while still preserving data safety.

Final thoughts

Security in healthcare is a vast and challenging topic. In this article, we only scratched the surface of the matter. However, I hope that we clarified some of the primary issues and showed the importance of digital products’ security. Especially in the healthcare sector, we should always comply with the requirements and restrictions imposed on us.

Have an idea for a product, and maybe you need help with your startup? Don’t worry. We got your back. If you want to discuss your vision, book a meeting with Mariusz or send us a message. We’ll be happy to talk to you. 

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