Advanced EHR Security: Major Threats & Solutions
Today, EHR has become a widely adopted technology in the healthcare market. Securely maintaining patient health data is an important aspect and challenging process with EHR software. Unauthorized access to EHR, health data leakage, and security breaches of practice health databases not only create troubles but also affects the practice growth seriously. In this article, we share some of the major threats and the solutions to overcome EHR security issues effectively.
Major Threats to EHR Security
Violation of access privileges
Both morbid curiosity and malicious intent can stay behind the actions of some staff members who use their access permissions in the wrong way. This is about another sort of abuse of authority that, even though is unacceptable in a healthcare environment, might still take place if proper data protection measures are not set.
This is where two-factor authentication is a real life-savior. To ultimately reinforce the impenetrability of sensitive data, blockchain can be used. The blockchain data storing and protecting approach renders unauthorized data access attempts practically useless. Password encryption is another helpful initiative.
EHR development security solutions are meaningless without advanced protection of data accessibility. If neither two-factor authentication nor password encryption is used to reach sensitive EHR data, some financial info such as billing data, credit card numbers, and insurance info can appear in the hands of the wrong person who might use the data to one’s advantage.
These and other EHR security and privacy issues can be efficiently solved and avoided with a good dose of automation, which can be achieved with IoT and AI-powered systems integration.
External network mismanagement
When a part of the EHR database leaves an intrahospital network for either cloud storage or some external networks, the vulnerability of EHRs increases significantly. When access to a clinic’s database can be enabled from somewhere outside the hospital premises, the privacy of EHR data is exposed to risk.
How to optimize such vulnerability? The answer is proprietary data storage and blockchain protection. Modern data storage solutions provide centralized next-generation protection and allow for reducing breach risks.
Human factor mistakes
People remain people no matter how advanced the technologies they use appear to be. There are a lot of ways to lose data through negligence: misaddressed emails, occasional data sharing with unauthorized persons, recovery of forgotten passwords with inappropriate methods, making screen data visible for foreign visitors, and many others.
As mentioned above IoT, AI, and blockchain integrations can help optimize the situation. A thorough staff monitoring added up with unrivaled blockchain data protection should certainly help eliminate tons of unnecessary errors.
Security Solutions in EHR Development
The above-mentioned categories of EHR security and privacy issues are threatening as such, but what makes them even more severe is their temporal aspect. In other words, it can take weeks and months to identify data breaches before some countermeasures are applied. That is why preventive EHR security should be closely considered.
Following key security standards is crucial for any EHR development project. The standards are well-developed by the responsible governmental entities, and violation of the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can entail significant penalties even if no security breach happens. It is worth studying the official HIPAA Compliance Checklist before security and privacy solutions in EHR development see the light.
Secure EHR exchange
Protection of electronic document flows between all departments within a healthcare organization as well as between the organization and external entities is a must to avoid EHR data breaches. All potentially vulnerable communication channels should have encryption features to protect sensitive messages. Continually updated antivirus software is never optional for security solutions in EHR development as well.
All messages from a healthcare institution to patients should be encrypted and accessible only with passwords. Two-factor authentication is another must-use method while changing the passwords.
The passwords should also be changed regularly. A special random password generator can be inbuilt in the system as an extra EHR development security solution to avoid setting too obvious passwords such as 12345678 or 11111111. Even though regular password resets may cause some inconvenience for patients and staff, the game is worth the candle when it comes to EHR security.
Access rights control
To avoid impermissible disclosure of EHRs, staff roles in the healthcare organization’s hierarchy should also be considered. The organization management should discuss how many levels of access the system is about to have and which staff belongs to each level. Automatic logoff could also be useful for the forgetful overworked staff.
Additionally, the emergency moderator/sysadmin intervention option should be a part of the access control. Thus, when the system sends unauthorized access alerts, they can be promptly addressed and managed accordingly. Besides that, a special security feature should be in place to detect any sort of unusual or suspicious behavior within the system and notify the administrator immediately.
Regular system audit
Tracking all user activities in the system is necessary to detect possible data breaches in time. A pre-configured audit feature allows for monitoring a range of various parameters such as what data was accessed and when, who applied one’s authorization for data access, which devices/IP addresses were used, and other user inputs.
Machine learning and deep learning technologies can suit security and privacy solutions in EHR development well. A regular audit report can be created with the help of AI-powered algorithms to facilitate automated generation and analysis of the reports.
AI-based predictive analytics working in a human-free mode can help detect unusual operational patterns in the system or identify the sensitive data that has been transmitted to an unauthorized recipient.
Predictive analytics engines can run 24/7 to accumulate and classify all suspicious cases. Therefore, it can work as a robust data leakage protection tool, which is essential for effective security solutions in EHR development.
Various EHR privacy and security issues can unlikely disappear from the agenda of healthcare providers completely. They are the growing pains inherent in a paradigm shift from a paper standard to a digital one.
Human-factor negligence, access permission violations, obsolete authorization methods, hacking, and ransomware all belong to factors capable of compromising data privacy in EHRs. But all the threats are far from fatal if security solutions in EHR development are created with skill.
Contact us to get assisted in making your EHR system bullet-proof secure with the most up-to-date software development technologies.