E-health: privacy, security questioned
SECURITY| Feb. 7, 2013, 6:20 a.m.
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.”
MORE SECURITY NEWS
Consumers suffering from ‘digital amnesia’Kaspersky Lab says growing numbers of consumers struggle to recall memories trusted to connected devices. Read More
Information Security: The biggest barrier to the Internet of ThingsTrust is critical for IoT to achieve its potential, especially in terms of its adoption by the mass market, says Gemalto. Read More
Kaspersky Lab, Gabonese Government to Cooperate on IT SecurityKaspersky Lab has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Agency of Digital Infrastructures and Frequencies (ANINF) in Libreville, Gabon. Read More
The importance of password securityMany users assume their passwords are of no value to cyber criminals, says Kaspersky Lab. Read More
MTN Business expands partnership with Samsung to offer enterprise customers increased securitySamsung 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 CybercrimeA 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 KasperskyKaspersky 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 companiesDeloitte 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 infrastructureKaspersky 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
FEATURED STORYBatswana dragging feet in digital migration
More than a month after the deadline for the digital migration from analogue television, few people have shown any pronounced enthusiasm in entering the new digital TV realm.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAs curtain falls on MDGs, what next?
Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, speaks to Biztechafrica about setting smart targets.
COMPANY NEWSMTN Business App of the Year submissions closed
Entries for the annual MTN Business App of the Year Awards taking place on 13 August in Johannesburg have closed, and an expert panel of judges that is adjudicating ...