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

MTN Business expands partnership with Samsung to offer enterprise customers increased security

Samsung Electronics South Africa has announced that MTN Business has been appointed as a reseller of Samsung’s KNOX licenses to its customers.  Read More

Ghanaian to moderate Council of Europe Conference on Cybercrime

A Ghanaian cyber security expert, Albert Antwi-Boasiako, has been selected by the Council of Europe to moderate a session at its Cooperation against Cybercrime - Octopus Conference in Strasbourg, France. Read More

Be on the lookout for new cyber threats, warns Kaspersky

Kaspersky Lab has urged Kenyan companies to put the right security and strategies in place against cybercrime to avid losses and reputational damage.  Read More

Threat of cyberattacks on the rise for African companies

Deloitte says cyber criminals are getting smarter and know no boundaries, so companies in Africa need to raise their preparedness. Read More

Kaspersky Lab, ISA combine efforts to protect critical infrastructure

Kaspersky Lab and the International Society of Automation (ISA) have launched a joint education initiative to raise awareness of industrial automation equipment operators about cyber threats.  Read More

Ransomware: don’t pay the cybercriminals

ESET offers tips on how keep PCs protected and avoid supporting cybercrime activities. Read More

Data breaches to cost $2.1 trillion by 2019

New research suggests that the rapid digitisation of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019. Read More

Betting the farm on untested tech

While a plethora of new payment solutions are coming to market, businesses should be cautious about moving to new solutions just for the sake of it. Read More

Mobile student ID system to authenticate over 2 million Nigerian students

HID Global and Botosoft have built and delivered a system to help the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) register and authenticate Nigerian students. Read More

‘WD purple surveillance drives tackle security challenges’

Western Digital has released one of its flagship products, purple surveillance storage drives (WD Purple), in Nigeria, saying the solution, designed for high definition (HD) surveillance, will help tackle insecurity. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika

FEATURED STORY

IHS plans to inject fresh $500m to grow capacityIHS plans to inject fresh $500m to grow capacity

Mohammed Darwish, managing director of IHS Towers, says the firm will soon inject another $500million into the business after raising some $2.5billion to finance expansion drives. Darwish spoke with biztecafrica.com in Lagos.

IN DEPTH

As curtain falls on MDGs, what next?As curtain falls on MDGs, what next?

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, speaks to Biztechafrica about setting smart targets.