Patient privacy key in healthcare digital transformation: Report

New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS): Safeguarding patient privacy, which includes personal information, medical history, test and treatment, plays a key role in the digital transformation of the healthcare industry, according to a report on Tuesday.

The pandemic and quarantine measures prompted a growth in telemedicine as well as a general increase in the usage of digital technologies across the board.

However, if cybersecurity and data protection are not given top priority in the technological infrastructures of the healthcare industry and medical device manufacturers, the possibility of the exposure of private medical data severely jeopardises patient privacy, said the report by GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

The report comes even as medical devices manufacturer Medtronic is currently involved in a legal battle over allegations that it exchanged a sizable amount of patient data on diabetes with tech giant Google.

The lawsuit accuses Medtronic of breaking patient confidentiality and raises significant difficulties with data privacy in the medical sector.

“The foundation of digital health is the use of technical platforms that store and transfer data, including electronic medical records that consolidate patient health data and make it available to all healthcare professionals,” said Elia Garcia, medical analyst at GlobalData, in a statement.

Garcia said some medical devices like pacemakers, home monitoring systems, and blood glucose monitors, are enabled to communicate with one another via the Internet and send patient data.

These offer significant advantages such as providing details on the patient's health status, individualised monitoring, and the adjustment and administration of medicines, she said.

“Strengthening the legal and regulatory frameworks that control data protection is essential, and this can be done by defining and improving national or international standards that specify how companies should behave themselves,” Garcia said.

“To promote patient trust in digital health, it is essential that patients feel their data is secure. And because of this, medical organisations and businesses need to see cybersecurity and data protection as critical elements of daily operations,” she added.



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