Health Professionals Top the Scales for Data Breaches
Australia’s doctors, dentists, pathologists and other health professionals – have the worst record for data breaches.
And alarmingly, the number breaches caused by inadequate protection of medical and personal records in the private health sector is on the rise.
The sensitive nature of such personal data makes it a particularly attractive target for cybercriminals. Stolen records can be used for anything from identity fraud to ransom demands and are highly sought after on the black market.
Reported data breaches amongst health professionals have far exceeded those in any other business sector since the introduction in February of compulsory notification of breaches to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
These notifications do not include breaches under the Australian Government’s new My Health Records system.
Admittedly, keeping personal information and medical records secure is not an easy task. While it might be possible to have effective security when records are stored centrally, the risks increase significantly when they are shared with third parties.
For example, specialists in a hospital need to access centrally held records when treating a patient in the emergency department. Radiologists also need access when checking scans and other test results. Even therapeutic care providers such as physiotherapists may need to access the files when providing follow-up treatment.
As a result, an individual’s records can be accessed in multiple locations, by multiple parties using multiple devices. Copies of the records can also end up being stored locally, creating further data security issues.
The risk of breaches increase even further if personal records are transferred or stored on mobile devices such as laptops, tablets or mobile phones which is a growing trend in the health sector.
The challenges though are not insurmountable. Think Technology Australia has designed and installed secure network systems for medical and dental practices in Queensland and New South Wales which have proved effective in reducing the risk of data breaches.
For more information, call us on 1300 920 866.