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
Cyber security gets topical during ICT pitsoDelegates at Botswana's annual ICT Pitso in Gaborone have agreed there is a need to develop Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Strategies, create cybersecurity awareness and build capacity to address cybercrime. Read More
Frost & Sullivan honours DERMALOG with biometrics prizeFrost & Sullivan has awarded Germany’s largest biometrics manufacturer DERMALOG and its customized solutions and products for Africa with the 2015 African Biometrics Company of the Year Award. Read More
Chams urges insurers to embrace IT to grow businessIndigenous IT firm Chams Plc has urged Chief Executive Officers of risk-bearing companies struggling to make appreciable inroads into the rural communities of Nigeria to look in the direction of deploying IT tools. Read More
2nd Cyber conference set for OctoberThe African Cyber Risk Institute (ACRI) will host its 2nd Annual African Cyber Conference on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at Cresta Lodge Hotel in Gaborone. Read More
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
FEATURED STORYAlcatel-Lucent VP calls for collaboration to achieve Data Revolution in Africa
The Vice president of Alcatel-Lucent Africa, Daniel Jaeger, has reiterated the need for African stakeholders to work together to address challenges in the way of ICT development in Africa.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHHigh tech homes: Just press play
High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.
COMPANY NEWSMTN SA expands its FTTH network to the Western Cape
MTN South Africa has expanded its fibre to the home (FTTH) footprint to the Western Cape, and trenching has already commenced in the picturesque suburbs of Fresnaye ...