E-health: privacy, security questioned

SECURITY

-
Image: By BiztechAfrica
E-health: privacy, security questioned

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, in Dakar, Senegal

Although they would not say it in public, many professionals in Africa, as well as in the developed world, have admitted that e-health implementation could be affected by privacy and security issues, an analyst told Biztechafrica in Dakar.

“There will be a lot of data sharing in e-health systems among various healthcare providers and professionals, meaning people’s medical records will be out there in the open, moving from John to Paul to Mary, and that it’s making many professionals very uncomfortable,” IT consultant Ibrahima Ndoye said.

“The big question now is will these systems through which this data will move be safe, secure and effective? This is EPR we’re talking about here, and it’s not only a sensitive issue, but also confidential.”

EPR stands for electronic patient records, and basically consists of digitised paper-based records. Some however call it EHR, electronic health records.

“People shouldn’t just jump of joy about this e-health thing, it’s a very complicated situation that needs a strong legal framework, and in places such as Africa where chaos and inconsistency reign every day in the governance of these systems, the worries and concerns are justified.”

Ndoye’s sentiments seemed to be echoed by Naipeng Dong, Hugo Jonker and Jun Pang, of the Faculty of Sciences, Technology and Communication at the University of Luxembourg.

They said: “E-health systems have to deal with a far more complex constellation of roles: doctors, patients, pharmacists, insurance companies, medical administration, etc.

“Each of these roles has access to different private information and different privacy concerns. As existing privacy approaches from other domains are not properly equipped to handle such a diverse array of roles, privacy must be tailored to the health-care domain.”

Ndoye said each and every system will have to be fitted with strong monitoring mechanisms to ensure that medical data that goes through is not tampered with. “I don’t think e-health will move forward if the privacy and safety concerns are properly addressed,” he said.

Privacy in e-health has been recognised as one of the paramount requirements necessary for adoption by the general public, according to Dong, Jonker and Pang wrote.

The issue of privacy and security of e-health records sparked a heated debate in Australia last year, with various experts and political parties urging the government to amend some sections of Personally Controlled E-Health Record Bills (PCEHR) before passed into law.

One such party was the Greens, who recommended that the government make five amendments to the proposed legislation to include greater privacy protections.

“The issue of privacy and security is an ongoing debate, even in the countries where e-health has supposedly been adopted. There is still some pockets of resistance out there who fear the unknown, and their fears are truly justified.”

 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE SECURITY NEWS

Small businesses take big IT security risks: Kaspersky Lab

A new report concludes that a lack of budget remains the biggest barrier preventing small businesses from adopting more advanced IT and IT security measures. Read More

Fake apps invade Google Play

Trend Micro has released a new report indicating that Google Play has become infested with trojanised versions of apps. Read More

Stanbic advises holiday makers

As Botswana enters two days of holidays, Stanbic has urged people not to let their guard down on financial security. Read More

13,500 new phishing wildcards every month

Kaspersky Lab has released data on how many new phishing wildcards it adds to the company’s anti-phishing database every month.  Read More

Is Ghana's cybercrime out of control?

Barely two weeks after Ghana’s Vice-President  called on young people not to get involved in illegal internet activities, police arrested a 26-year-old undergraduate student for allegedly defrauding people through a bogus online organisation. Read More

Increase in targeted attacks against business

Kaspersky Lab has found that targeted attacks are on the rise year-over-year, and also identified the business sectors most likely to be targeted. Read More

IT security: what’s in it for business?

IT security spend is too often seen as a grudge purchase by business management. But the fact is – effectively securing enterprise networks is a business imperative, says Networks Unlimited. Read More

Egypt’s ISPs positioned to deliver DDoS protection

ISPs in Egypt are uniquely positioned to offer DDoS protection services, says Arbor Networks. Read More

Special report released on the security of Ghana’s online banking platforms

A local Ghanaian IT firm, Elcuto Consult, has released a vulnerability report on the security of online banking platforms in the Ghana.  Read More

Ten years since the first mobile malware

This week marks ten years since Kaspersky Lab reported the discovery of Cabir – the first ever worm designed to attack mobile phones. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

Widening ICT skills gap: Cause for concernWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern

Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.

IN DEPTH

Kenya rolls out e-extension to improve agricultureKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture

In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.