Information Governance

In the battle to keep confidential data safe, patients shouldn’t be on the losing side!

Healthcare providers certainly have a challenge in keeping patients’ data confidential. Information Governance has a huge role to play, with any devices used having to meet stringent guidelines.

Vulnerability of data

Information Governance guidelines rule on the ways that patient data is captured, stored, maintained and shared. Unfortunately for patients, a glance at mainstream news in the last 12 months shows plenty of stories of how their confidential information was left exposed by healthcare providers or the victim of some form of cyber-attack. There are certainly processes in place to ensure that data is kept safe but adhering to these protocols isn’t always so simple. Vulnerability certainly appears where there is a difference in how each department manages and safeguards data – or the variety of devices that are used to collect and store patient data.

The challenges faced

With an increasing indifference to how best practice is actually implemented, many opportunities for data breaches have the potential to occur and be reported in the press. Simply type ‘hospital data breach’ in any search engine and recent news stories of where data has fallen foul to some form of negligence will come out. This leads to a lack of public confidence that healthcare providers are able to keep personal data stored
securely and, most importantly, only shared with relevant parties.

The importance of security

Maintaining and safeguarding up-to-date patient data is crucial. Not only for keeping data private but also when needed for further medical appointments or emergencies. With so many different medical professionals who may need access to personal information at any time, there’s no doubt that keeping this data safely available is so important. Regardless of the equipment used to register, update or access patient data – whether it’s a PC, tablet, voice recorder, etc – best practice recommends that analog tapes are no longer sufficient to meet regulations; and despite guidelines many healthcare entities still record patient data through unsuitable and unsafe devices.

Helping IT deliver better solutions

A great concern with analogue tape devices is the threat that anyone can access particularly sensitive data. And with hospitals in particular, keeping control of where each device is, or who has access to it, can also pose a risk. Which is why it’s essential to adopt digital devices that can be kept under central management for ease of identification, with secure control of use. Philips digital voice recorders allow IT staff to manage users, licenses, and system settings remotely. Hardware administration can also be done centrally for convenience of device configuration and firmware updates.

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