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

Fortinet: JP Morgan hack has the hallmarks of an APT

The coordinated hacks of JPMorgan Chase and a number of other banks, which was revealed in the global media yesterday, bear all the hallmarks of an APT attack, says Fortinet South Africa. Read More

McAfee names new Regional Director

McAfee, part of Intel Security, has announced the appointment of Trevor Coetzee as its new regional director, South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa.  Read More

Security professionals slam govt, banks over security

Nigeria’s Information Technology System and Security Professional (ITSSP) body says lenders are putting the cart before the horse by not first considering the security of applications before deploying them. Read More

Kaspersky Lab launches free app scanner for Android

To safeguard users against a number of Android vulnerabilities discovered in recent months, Kaspersky Lab has released a free mobile application for the platform. Read More

Police claim rise in cyber crime

Botswana Police have indicated that there is marked increase in crimes involving the internet in the country.  Read More

Multi-layer security to combat social media attacks

Enterprises are vastly underestimating the risk of social media, says Fortinet distributor Networks Unlimited. Read More

Where DDoS is a business opportunity

DDoS attacks may strike fear into the hearts of anyone involved in the online space, but protecting against them presents a new business opportunity for ISPs, says Networks Unlimited. Read More

Biometrics in retail expected to boom

The use of biometrics in retail is expected to increase dramatically, says Ideco. Read More

Kaspersky Lab: Koler ‘police’ mobile ransomware now targets PCs, Android

Kaspersky Lab has issued a warning of ransomware that displays customised messages to victims in over 30 countries. Read More

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

PRESS OFFICES

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

FEATURED STORY

Safaricom-Equity battle for mobile banking hots up Safaricom-Equity battle for mobile banking hots up

Equity bank's entry to the mobile banking and telephony industry is still hanging in the balance with London-based global association of mobile operators (GSMA) calling for independent audit. 

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.