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
DDoS protection: A broad and multi-faceted approach for financial institutionsWith Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks becoming more complex and sophisticated, so must any defensive strategy that attempts to fully protect a financial institution, says Arbor Networks. Read More
Frost & Sullivan presents Arbor Networks with 2015 global DDoS Mitigation Market Leadership AwardArbor Networks Inc., the security division of NETSCOUT, has announced that, for the second consecutive year, Frost & Sullivan has awarded the company the Global distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) Mitigation Market Leadership Award. Read More
Cybercrime, the new reality2015 was possibly the year that changed the impact of cybercrime from being “bothersome” to being an “epidemic”, says Networks Unlimited. Read More
Don’t skimp on cyber securityWith cyber risks increasing daily, and threats evolving to evade even the most advanced security measures, executives must avoid skimping when it comes to the IT security budget. Read More
Kaspersky Lab: Social Network Sharing Makes Users an Easy Target for CybercriminalsA Quiz from Kaspersky Lab has found that almost a third (30%) of social network users share their posts, check-ins and other personal info with everybody who is online – not just their friends. Read More
Institute of bankers brainstorms on cyber fraudCyber risks, such as the threat of data theft and fraud, came under discussion at the Botswana Institute of Bankers (BIoB) symposium. Read More
‘Tis the season to be hackedAs retail stores ramp up their online offerings to entice shoppers, companies need to be on guard against ransomware. Read More
IP: Keeping your secret recipe a secretFrom large pharmaceutical organisations to small family-run businesses, all now operate with business critical IP at the core of their operations and need to protect it. Read More
DDoS reality check: It can happen to youThe Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) threat has changed to one where the attack types are more diverse and nefarious than before. Read More
Kaspersky Lab: 63% of companies affected by internal information security incidents63% of companies have been affected by internal information security incidents, and the largest single cause of confidential data losses are employees, says a new study. Read More
FEATURED STORYViber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats
Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664 million unique users worldwide, has opened its latest social channel ‘Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHPoised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year Winner
Roshi Motman is not your average CEO. Since taking up the reins as the first female CEO of Tigo Ghana in 2014, she has led the Tigo brand through a remarkable transformation.
COMPANY NEWSDStv Eutelsat Star Awards winners named
Students from Ghana and Zimbabwe have scooped top honours at 5th edition of DStv Eutelsat Star Awards organised by MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat.